Supervisors vote to reduce county firefighters’ overtime wages above federal standards

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UPDATE JULY 1, 2020:

Supervisor David Couch released the following statement regarding his abstention:

“I’d have to be disclosing many closed session discussions to provide a very in-depth and relevant context. And I should not do that. 

The discussion I wanted to have is most appropriately done and should only be done in closed session. If the item had been on the PM agenda that would have occurred in the normal sequence of the agenda. 

The item could’ve been continued to the afternoon, and thereby allowing that discussion. In fact, Labor Negotiations was an agendized closed session item.  As you saw, there was no interest in continuing the item. 

In addition, the action yesterday will not go into effect until July 18, 2020. Our next meeting scheduled is on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. So, the item could have been brought back on July 14, 2020 without causing a delay, if approved. 

There’s a lot more- this was a 3 year process- but that’s what I think I can say. “

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to reduce overtime wages above federal standards for county firefighters during their morning meeting.

Supervisor Zack Scrivner voted against while Supervisor David Couch abstained. Prior to the vote, Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said the county’s fire fund would save $3.4 million if the board approved the elimination of the overtime, allowing for the purchase of new equipment.

The vote comes after county staff said the overtime “is not sustainable.” The fire union and Chief David Witt warned that the vote could lead to higher turnover and low morale within the Kern County Fire Department.

“Recruitment could be hampered…because people will think twice about the employee-employer relationships taking place,” Witt said.

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