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
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
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
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 -
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retention for Southern California forests no later than. Feb. 1, 2008.”
“It’s not just salaries,. it’s a multifaceted problem. ... JP
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
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
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 -
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 -
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
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
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
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
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
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
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2003h_aug.htm - 343k - Cached - Similar
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
... this wording: "recommendation for conversion of temporary seasonal
employees to permanent seasonal status in order to encourage workforce
www.wildlandfire.com/docs/2003_n_before/2001budget.htm - 11k - Cached
... 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 -
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
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 -
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 -
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
www.wildlandfire.com/arc/2004l_dec.htm - 363k - Cached - Similar
Note that there's another Doc there from 1999:
Recruitment and Retention on the Angeles National Forest. Ab.