Special Districts compensation payments
Following the August 2010 revelations about exorbitant public salaries in the City of Bell, Calif., State Controller John Chiang requested that California’s counties, cities and special districts report their salary and earnings data to his office. Last year, he began posting these data online for the public’s use.

As of Monday, Feb. 13, Chiang’s office has posted the 2010 salary data for two local districts — Idyllwild Fire Protection and Idyllwild Water. The salary information for Fern Valley and Pine Cove water districts will be posted in March. Pine Cove has already posted the data on its website (www.pcwd.org/personnel.html).

For each employee, the following information is available: department, classification (e.g., title), annual salary (minimum and maximum), total 2010 wages subject to Medicare, applicable defined benefit pension formula (e.g., 3 percent at 55 years) and the following employer 2010 contributions (share of pension benefits, deferred compensation, and health, dental and vision benefits).

Below is the Idyllwild Fire Protection District data. Over the following weeks, the Town Crier will publish the water districts’ data, too.

The column, “Employees’ Share of Pension Benefits,” represents any amount of the employee’s share of pension contributions that the employer pays. The “Health, Dental, Vision” column represents the total amount paid by the employer towards health, dental or vision benefits for the employee.

Letters to the editor
I also call your attention to the policy box at the right of this page. During the past year, we have relaxed our criteria for publishing letters.

Unfortunately, some in the community felt those changes diminished the quality of the paper. But few of these readers were willing to share their thoughts with all readers.

While we are resurrecting the one letter every four weeks criterion, I want to share some further thoughts about letters.

Some of these are standard procedures and have been applied to letters, even though they have not been posted. When apprised of these criteria, some of the concerned readers appreciated our efforts to regulate the discourse, but encouraged us to share these criteria publicly.

  1. Please try to keep your submissions to less than 451 words. Sometimes that’s difficult especially when the subject is of broad community appeal. Believe me, I understand the limitations of this criterion.
  2. Unsubstantiated personal attacks will not be published. If you need to provide the rationale for the statement, you may append the evidence.
  3. Complaints about the operation of local businesses or individuals will be shared with the alleged offending party. This prepares them for its publication. Secondly, they may wish to respond in that issue or the next.

I wondered what you think about these three criteria, including the frequency of publication. Would the third deter whistle-blowers? If you wonder who would be the judge of “unsubstantiated personal attacks,” the Town Crier’s management must make that judgement.

I invite everyone to consider these criteria and evaluate them from many perspectives, such as fairness to the author, to the community and to the paper, feasibility, appropriateness for the Hill or other criteria of your own derivation.

Please share your thoughts with me. In a few weeks, I’ll publish all the letters, if anyone comments, about the policy.

If you prefer to discuss this or have questions, please join us at our weekly story meetings, 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays. The location changes, so check theCommunity calendar.

Total 2010 2010 IFPD Contributions
Classification Annual Salary Minimum Annual Salary Maximum Wages Subject to Medicare Employee’s Share of Pension Health, Dental, Vision Benefits
Fire Chief (1) $93,864 $93,864 $ 53,170 $1,738 $1,300
(2) $94,987 $97,454 $ 59,725 $3,914 $2,250
Captain/Paramedic $68,711 $75,866 $90,017 $8,078 $8,400
Captain/Paramedic $68,711 $75,866 $97,616 $8,593 $8,400
Captain/Paramedic $68,711 $75,866 $107,865 $8,078 $8,400
Engineer/EMT $60,150 $67,551 $28,156 $2,387 $8,400
Fire Engineer/Paramedic $60,150 $67,551 $80,106 $7,050 $8,400
Fire Engineer/Paramedic $60,150 $67,551 $85,406 $7,110 $8,400
Fire Engineer/Paramedic $60,150 $67,551 $130,016 $7,063 $8,400
Firefighter Ltd. Term $37,800 $39,916 $24,881 $ 0 $ 0
Firefighter Ltd. Term $37,800 $42,600 $20,381 $0 $0
Firefighter $38,858 $43,792 $4,700 $272 $ 0
Firefighter $38,858 $43,792 $60,632 $4,045 $4,800
Firefighter $38,858 $43,792 $35,074 $4,045 $4,800
Admin. Assistant $27,090 $35,088 $17,107 $0 $350

In addition, IFPD reported 17 reserve firefighters and nine paid-call firefighters received wages in 2010, but no benefits.