by Nick Delgado
Guam - "It was expected to see these cuts approved because they've been over many years recommended," said Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas. Among the cuts proposed, San Nicolas says the elimination of his department's incentive pay and non-productive pay is something he is seeking more information on how to move forward.
"It does appear that GFD is taking quite a hit as far as pays toward salaries and benefits that go with it," he said.
The incentive pay only goes to firefighters that work on the ambulance. With a fleet of seven today, San Nicolas says the cut would impact a total of 18 personnel who work on the medic any given day. "So in reality, you're looking at as far as the elimination of 15 percent it only amounts to $450,000 a year in savings which leads me to believe that's a small chunk of change in regards to the $43 million cut," he said.
Despite the recommendation, San Nicolas is working to have the incentive pay become part of an EMT's base salary. As for the non-productive pay cut where GFD personnel get paid for 120 hours for pulling 24-hours shifts, San Nicolas says that was a recommendation by the Guam OPA. He is hoping to work on the proposed cuts with the Legislature. Public safety chair has not yet reviewed the recommendations by the task force, however admits he would support legislation that mandates these recommendations.
"Probably the governor will look at that as where a larger savings can be contained or rather a larger way can be contained and savings can be made I would venture to say probably the governor should also look into the department of corrections and others but right now I get the auditors report is a very valid report," he said.
He says the fire department should not feel singled out for the proposed cuts, as he says its only special pay. "Its never considered a regular pay regular compensation so for that be happy when you can have it but don't be sad if you cannot have it cause there not taking away from the basic," he said.
While the fire chief is pleased hazardous pay was not cut, he admits he is still pushing for his staff to actually get it. He says it's been more than five year since GFD got hazardous pay. Meantime, he wants another shot at preventing the proposed cuts that specifically point out his department. "I'm doing everything in my power to ensure that the voices of the firefighters, the emergency medical dispatchers and the non uniformed personnel that work for the Guam Fire Department are being heard and at the same time ensure that we're doing our part in helping to right size the government as for per the direction of our governor," he said.
Also proposed for Guam Fire to move from a two platoon system to a three platoon system.