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RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION / PAY ISSUES 1999 to 2008

Since 1999, Pay specifically has been cited as one of the key contributors to the U.S. Forest Service’s inability to retain highly skilled and experienced firefighters who often leave, clearly for better pay and compensations offered by other municipal city, county and state fire departments in California.

As to date, the perception of many personnel in Region 5 is that Management at the Regional and National Level may orchestrate a lack of response to any deadlines because there appears to be little repercussions to agency officials, and, in the event of any proposed or serious actions, timely and expeditious retirements occur to avoid addressing the issues on hand.

It would also appear that once these personnel retire, a new and invigorated pledge to collect statistical attrition data is enacted, the data is then reviewed (again), the agency develops a strategy (again) that would address agency concerns and eventually more analytical surveying and cost analysis’ are completed before it is passed to the official who has the authority of approval. The official then reviews the data, sets a date for discussion, and then retires.

In addition to these concerns, other crises are looming in the U.S. Forest Service which has been referred to as “Sounding the alarm early rather than late” in past pleas to Regional and National leaders of the agency. Some say that the alarm has long been sounded, the deployment zone is in sight and our agency has its fire shelter in hand as is performing a “Running Deployment” in a last ditch effort to save what little is left of either the workforce or its morale.

Some employees have enacted personal hardships to stop their Federal Healthcare provisions, choose to not contribute to their Government Retirement Plan and have even depleted their Retirement accounts on the grounds of financial hardships in an effort to simply survive the ongoing costs of surviving in California as one of the lowest paid fire professionals in the State.

One profound question remains clear.  “Why has there been no response to the Recruitment and Retention Strategy proposal” which was due on February 1, 2008, and in addition, to this question, “Why is there no repercussion or penalty for ignoring a direct request and expectation of a congressional inquiry?”

The end result (and perception to the workforce) is that it is clearly cheaper to simply do the wrong thing (avoid any reasonable compensations for retention in R-5), than it is to do the right thing in California.

Please forward all your collected, supported, articulated, reviewed, analyzed, re-evaluated, legislative and developed documentation to the highest level decision maker who is within 90 days of retirement eligibility for immediate study and review.

Proud To Be A FWFSA Member
From theysaid 2/6/08


PAST TOPICS DATED 1999 to 2008 REGARDING RETENTION AND PAY

Congress wants to quench FS firefighters’ exit (Idyllwild Town Crier)
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
retention for Southern California forests no later than. Feb. 1, 2008.” “It’s not just salaries,. it’s a multifaceted problem. ... JP Crumrine

They Said, June 2006
HSA dictates retention issues, and that is our problem... retention. Did you ever hear in the past 10 years of a retention issue with CDF or maybe LACO, ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2006f_jun.htm - 269k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said, October 2005
It is about safety, recruitment, retention, and fairness for wildland firefighters. It is also about performing a dangerous job... photos attached. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2005j_oct.htm - 325k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said June 2002
On the point about poor retention of experienced personnel, I agree 1000% When I started there were about 15 old fire dogs on the district that knew every ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2002f_jun.htm  - 381k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said Aug 2000
He suggested that the legislature earmark funds specifically for retention of existing experienced firefighters as they would inevitably be needed in ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2000h_aug.htm  - 214k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said, December 2006
... recruitment & retention problems thereby reducing the over-reliance on higher-priced non-federal resources, suppression costs will continue to go up. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2006l_dec.htm - 598k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said March 2004
No wonder we have a retention problem. Ab. ..... It all links back to recruitment, retention, and a pleasurable work and HOME environment (Career). ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2004c_mar.htm - 475k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said February 2002
Now I'm not so sure, all the positive talk about reinventing the pay system, retention bonuses etc, of the past few months seems to have gone bye bye, ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2002b_feb.htm - 284k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said, November 2006
The conference report on the authorizing legislation stated that Congress was acting to address severe recruitment and retention problems caused by ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2006k_nov.htm - 594k - Cached - Similar pages
They Said Feb 2001
(This might help in retention, duh.) And I'm not even getting into WO expectations ...... pay retention stays for 2 yrs. 2 years to solve the situation thru ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2001b_feb.htm - 263k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said August 2003
The high risks and poor pay not only create safety hazards, but also hurt the recruitment and retention of quality firefighters. The bill will also allow a ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2003h_aug.htm - 343k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said Feb 2000
I observe the same type of recruitment/retention problems now that I saw in the military during the two years after the draft was abolished. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2000b_feb.htm - 210k - Cached - Similar pages

2001 Budget
... this wording: "recommendation for conversion of temporary seasonal employees to permanent seasonal status in order to encourage workforce retention". ...
www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2003_n_before/2001budget.htm - 11k - Cached - Similar pages

JACK A
... the debate of disparaging remarks, portal to portal pay as well as pay versus retention that we are currently facing within Region 5 / California. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2005/timtoblackwell.htm - 9k - Cached - Similar pages

Statement of
File Format: Microsoft Word - View as HTML
A number of reports from a variety of sources illustrate the severe retention & recruitment problems resulting from antiquated pay and benefit policies. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2007/fwfsa012007testimony.doc - Similar pages

Forest Service instructed to retain SoCal Firefighters ...
"I see that as positive," said Mike Dietrich, fire chief for the San Bernardino forest, of the recruitment and retention proposal. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/showthread.php?t=2472 - 41k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said Jan - Feb 1999
R5's Fire Work Environment Recruitment and Retention Subcommittee will be building a WEB site soon & some lessons can certainly be taken from ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/1999a_jan-feb.htm - 72k - Cached - Similar pages

Layoff -Unemployment for permanent Fed & temp Fed FF/ Career Stuff ...
If we need to grant 13 pay periods of paid vacation (unemployment) for retention, we are trying to retain the wrong people. ...
www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/archive/index.php?t-2059.html - 69k -

Forest Service Mission (lack of clarity?) / FS vs Fire Service ...
The folks from BDF had a great idea that they worked on for a couple of years (I think) that made sense to help with retention and the pay issues all of you ...
www.wildlandfire.com/hotlist/archive/index.php?t-2109.html - 65k - Cached - Similar pages

They Said, December 2004
Retention is the number one problem facing the wildland firefighting agencies and the Foresters on up are too blind to see it. At the women's conference ...
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2004l_dec.htm - 363k - Cached - Similar pages

Note that there's another Doc there from 1999: Recruitment and Retention on the Angeles National Forest. Ab.
 

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