BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Tuesday the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted in favor to reduce overtime wages for county firefighters. Before the supervisors cast their votes, Kern County Fire Department's Chief David Witt spoke about the possibility of having to temporarily close fire stations.
"There will be situations where when we have emergencies I may not get back as many people and we'll have to temporarily close the fire station. There will be impacts on the hand crews... I don't know if I'm going to get applications. I don't know. I have a bad feeling that I'm not going to get the applications that are needed. So, that highly concerns me. There will be direct impacts on the Fire Department and I will need to have certain stations closed at times," said Chief Witt.
Though in a 3 to 1 vote, Chair women Leticia Perez, along with Supervisors Mick Gleason and Mike Maggard voting in favor of the reduction. While Supervisor Zack Scrivner voted against and Supervisor David Couch deciding to abstain from voting. Some board members stating that funding overtime benefits is not sustainable.
The newly approved proposal includes four changes:
1. Establishing an 18-day work period under the FLSA.
2. Redefining hours worked to exclude non-productive paid leave time, such as vacation and sick leave.
3. Removing the administrative assignment designation in the salary schedule, but continuing with the 5% administrative assignment pay as special pay.
4. Ending the 30-year longevity pay.
The decision will take effect July 18, 2020.