COVID19 - update 3


I just wanted to provide you with an update and bring you up to speed a little bit. 

Last Tuesday, we had our monthly labor/command meeting on zoom. We are attempting to keep the communication lines open as best as possible with the Chief and Command Staff. As of that meeting, there was no intent or word by the Fire Chief to have to cut any FD positions. It is still too early to tell exactly what we are looking at. I know that is cuts is something we are all thinking about and it is something we are taking very seriously on the union side. We do not want to lose anyone here. Everyone here is a part of our FIRE family, and we will do everything in our power to protect the family. We all have worked very hard to get us where we are today. But, we have to also keep in mind the seriousness of the situation, and understand it may not be an easy path back to normal. 

So, I ended up peeling off about half-way through the L&C meeting to jump on a zoom meeting with the City Manager, Assistant City Manager, HR director, and all of the other bargaining unit labor presidents. Here are the key takeaways...

The City Manager really just wanted to directly communicate with us directly on the current state of the things. The City's estimated revenue loss is $49 million, which mostly accounts for losses of TOT (transient occupancy tax) and sales tax from our current fiscal year and next fiscal year. We are a tourist town, so it's no shock we are being hit hard. The City also projects another $3 million in losses from planning fees, permits, etc. 

Our City's normal operating budget is approximately $120 million per fiscal year.

City's reserves:

$33 million - General fund

$16 million - CalPERS reserve fund (for previously projected increases in CalPERS costs)

Potential savings:

  • Citywide hiring freeze $3-4 million 
  • Non-personnel savings $3-4 million
  • Measure J - $21 million in unspent capitol projects
  • $11 million federal grant awarded to the PS airport
  • Early retirement option (no further info yet)
  • Labor negotiations? (unknown on what this means yet)
    • Note: The PSPOA is in contract negotiations right now, so we will keep an eye on what we see happen with them.

So, the GOOD NEWS is that we have some reserves and unspent capitol project monies to hopefully take the initial blow from this. One of the big unknowns is when will this end, and what will the long-term effects be.

Last Thursday, the City Manager briefed the City Council on the above. I would encourage you all to watch the Council meeting and get engaged with what is going on, the link is below. Long story short, the City declared a "Fiscal Emergency". This doesn't really do much besides highlight the fact we are in a major budget crisis. At the next City Council meeting, the City staff is going to bring back a detailed plan on what they believe are the best options to help get us through this. As you may have seen, the City Manager also put an email to everyone further echoing much the above. 

April 24th City Council meeting (skip to 3:24:50)

So, where do we go from here? There is a lot of unknowns right now guys, but we are gathering some information and doing some brainstorming to try and stay ahead of the game. We expect the City to initiate a formal request to meet and confer sometime in the next week or two. 

***We are also looking to schedule a union meeting on zoom next week, possibly May 6th. We will get you the details ASAP once we lock it down. If things start to pick up speed, we will definitely schedule as many union meetings as we need to keep you guys in the loop***

This week we have a few other things happening in parallel to all this. We will be reaching out to our local CA legislators to support AB 664, which will make COVID19 presumptive with workmen's compensation. You can also reach out to your own local legislators and ask them to support public safety! You can call them or email. It makes a difference. If you are interested and want to help, please reach out to VP Myers.

Thursday, we will be joining a tele-town hall with CPF President Brian Rice and CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost, for an update on the state of the CalPERS pension system. 

Immediately following that, we will be on a IAFF 10th district zoom meeting our District VP Frank Lima and the General President of our IAFF.

We will talk to you all soon on a zoom meeting and we will have more updates and info then...

Take care, stay safe, keep doing what you do, and call us if you have any questions. 

Much love,

Jeff Kelsheimer

Local 3601 President