“The Orland Fire Protection District’s board of trustees approved 10 new hires to replace firefighters expected to retire this year. In the past, the district has waited for firefighters to leave before looking for replacements.
Even though the district may have one or two extra firefighters during the summer, hiring ahead of time will save the district money in the long run, Fire Chief Ken Brucki said, since they won’t need to rely on overtime to stay fully staffed during the three to five months it takes to hire and train new firefighters.
The district expects to save money on salaries by replacing more experienced firefighters with new hires, particularly after negotiating a new employee contract in October 2013, he said. A top-paid lieutenant near retirement might make $109,000 per year, he said but the district’s starting salary is $53,500 plus a paramedic stipend of $3,586, down from $71,000 prior to the new contract.