There is a lot of confusion as to what MOFD firefighters get paid. To simplify it, we’ll explain the numbers scaling them down to the simple numbers for a single employee.

Let’s say the employee works for Bob’s Hardware.

Bob is a pretty generous guy so he pays his employee $92,000 per year base salary.
In addition Bob pays him “extras” for working on holidays and stuff like that; another $14,000.
Sometime the employee works overtime so Bob pays him time and a half; a total of $30,000 a year.
That’s a total salary of $136,000.

But Bob also provides handsome benefits:

This year Bob is contributing $106,000 to the employee’s pension plan.
$11,000 to workman’s compensation insurance
$11,000 to health insurance
$13,000 to a retirement health plan
A total of $179,000 in benefits.

Total compensation package: $315,000

Part of the reason the pension payments are so high is that Bob did not put quite enough into the pension plan over the years and, in fact, for this one employee Bob owes the pension plan $725,000 which he is paying down over 17 years. And despite the fact that Bob is paying $13,000 into the retirement health plan, he also owes the health plan $180,000 (he has only started paying this down but he is paying so little the amount he owes actually increased by $2,000 this year).

Each month the employee works ten 24-hour shifts for Bob plus 2.5 days on overtime. At night, the employee has a small apartment at the back of the store. The employee’s job is dealing with emergencies; about two per day. One as the primary responder; one as a backup (Bob has two employees deal with every emergency.)

Bob’s employee has decided that he wants to retire at age 50 after working for Bob for 30 years. He wants to save enough so that when he retires he will have enough to draw out of his savings 90 percent of the base salary which he earned at retirement and continue to draw that amount, increased by inflation each year, for the rest of his life.

Despite the fact that Bob is contributing $106,000 per year to his employees’ pension plan and needs to pay an additional $725,000 to fully fund it, the employee also has to add an additional $22,000 a year into the plan (leaving the employee with $114,000 in net salary).

But the employee complains that he is underpaid.

A year and a half ago Bob promised his employee a seven percent raise this year. To try to keep his employee happy (if possible), soft hearted (headed?) Bob just agreed to start 2.5 percent of the employee’s seven percent raise on December 1st instead of waiting until July. This will cost Bob $2,000.

Will that make the employee happy?