The board of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District voted unanimously at its July meeting to give a 3 percent base raise to most of its non-union employees, even as board members said they have no idea how much in total compensation those employees would receive.
The 3 percent base raise will go to the district’s chief officers and other non-union employees. Those employees will also be eligible for merit raises unless they are at the top of their salary range, but the staff report did not mention how much those raises might be.
“This is not a salary increase of 3 percent,” said board member Chuck Bernstein, noting that he doesn’t know how much the total increase will be. “I thought we didn’t have COLAs (cost of living adjustments). I thought we didn’t have automatic increases,” he said, adding that he also “is not clear” how the district determines raises.
Because the board isn’t consulted on, or even told the amount budged for, merit raises “it seems like we really don’t have any say in how much compensation is going up,” he said.
“I think Director Bernstein raises an important issue,” said board President Peter Carpenter, who pointed out that the staff report did not say what the district budgets for pay raises and the amount is not obvious in the district’s budget.
Kathleen Jackson, the district’s administrative services manager, told the board that raises for the employees in question total about 5 percent.
“We need more clarity on this,” Mr. Carpenter said. “There’s still a gap between what’s written in the staff report and what we and the public understand.”
Board members asked for more information at a future meeting.
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