CAL FIRE Schedule A Contracts Post-MOU Adoption

If that was TRULY the case
Even OCFA wouldn’t be short staffed and experiencing force hire and burnout issues. I mention OCFA because the chief is on record bragging about picking up so many CF employees. Yet they still have staffing shortages.

A magic wand could be waved tomorrow, 56hr work week, 3% at 50 and longevity pay doubled. There would still be a HUGE LABOR SHORTAGE in America due to Demographics. At the end of the day, supply & demand is upside down and staffing shortages will continue to be the norm for the rest of my career.


Sorry brother you lost me, I’m not sure what post you were replying too. If what was truly the case?

Not sure if you saw my reply to LVdesrtrat, I understand the dynamic has changed when it comes to hiring and getting enough people who want to do this job. That is exactly my point thought, CAL FIRE will continue to bleed employees as other departments are just stealing employees from each other because all departments are having a hard time recruiting new employees.

The cold hard truth that most people within the department do not want to believe, is a significant amount of the issues associated with CAL FIRE come directly from Schedule A contracts. Look, when I was younger and coming up through schedule A programs, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I though CAL FIRE should continue getting more schedule A contracts and expanding that side of the department. Now that I’m not as young as I once was, I realize that schedule A contracts can be really fun to work in, for the people who work in busy A houses, but that’s about the extent of the contribution schedule A contracts provide for the totality of CAL FIRE employees.

Let me put it into perspective for you. A significant amount of law enforcement agencies face staffing issues, and have for a long time, current circumstances have only exacerbated LE staffing issues. But do you know which LE agency in California doesn’t have staffing issues? CHP. Why? Because CHP focuses on its core mission and doesn’t try to undercut its self to provide cheap law enforcement to municipalities in California.


Yep. Who wants to go to work when you can make a gazillion dollars doing TickTocks and InstaSnaps about the latest celebrity gossip while sitting on the couch in the comfort of your own home?

It’s a huge societal problem that isn’t going away any time soon.

I worry the movie “Idiocracy” might be actually coming to fruition!


I agree with what you’re saying, but remember that CHP also doesn’t have much, if any, seasonal workforce. You’re pretty much permanent from day one.

Also, CAL FIRE’s Schedule A contracts also act as surge capacity for large incidents. Could you imagine trying to staff any one of the huge fires we’ve had recently (or even the floods of this past spring) using only Schedule B personnel? There would be a huge hole to be filled by local government.

Plus, the training and experience CAL FIRE employees get from the Schedule A environment (whether directly by being assigned to a Schedule A ride or indirectly by working and training alongside someone who does/has) is a huge part of what makes CAL FIRE a pretty well-rounded all-risk department. Case in point is the recent water rescues. Many of the CAL FIRE people deployed to the flooding got their training directly from (or as a result of working in a unit that has) a solid Schedule A program.

I certainly don’t think wages and working conditions should be hindered by any Schedule A contract crying “poor me”. However, just as being a Schedule A contract brings many benefits to the local government initiating the contract, I also see the benefits that the Schedule A contracts bring to CAL FIRE as a whole.

Without the Schedule A contracts’ influence on CAL FIRE and driving innovation within the department over the past 90+ years, CAL FIRE would be no different than any other state’s Forestry department and would probably look very similar to how it looked when it was founded. Not many agencies-federal, state, or otherwise-that have “Forestry” in their name can be considered anything close to “all-risk”.


In my experience every Sch A contract that went away the push was local political control, ie San Bernadino and Tulare. And Tulare was an inside job.


What does CHP not having seasonals, have anything to do with CHP not undercutting themselves to provide cheap law enforcement to local municipalities? Schedule A contracts rarely have seasonal employees working within the schedule A programs, schedule A employees are for the large majority are permanent employees. The difference is CHP focuses on its core mission and does not attempt to grow their department and union by providing cheap law enforcement services to local municipalities.

Schedule A contracts provide surge capacity for large incidents… it sounds like you’re reading from a Department/L2881 talking points sheet. Can you please explain to me how that is a benefit to the employee and not only a benefit for the Department/L2881? Have you been to a large incident lately? At every large incident both within the incident command team and the boots on the ground you will see a ton of local government employees, not a lot of CAL FIRE employees are signing up to be on teams so those holes are already being filled with LG. Are you familiar with CICCI, CMA, CFAA? Through all of the mutual aid agreements that exist in California the state already has surge capacity for large incidents. Having CAL FIRE employees fill those holes instead of LG is a cost savings measure which benefits the state. So how is that a benefit for the employee? In my experience anything that is a benefit for the state is a detriment to the employee.

I know you are not trying to be, but your comments are extremely defamatory towards schedule b. Basically you’re saying without schedule A, schedule b wouldn’t be well trained in all risk operations and that we would all just be a bunch of brush bunnies, if schedule A wasn’t around to show us the light and guide the way. I really hope you don’t truly believe this, and if you do truly believe this, you might want to check your ego, brother…

As you stated, schedule A contracts bring many benefits to the local municipalities that have a schedule A contract and to the department. How are either of those a benefit to the employee?

So again, you go back to the belief that without schedule A “leading” the innovation within CAL FIRE, this department would be nothing but a bunch of brush bunnies. The fact is CAL FIRE operates fire engines that respond to all emergencies, no matter what patch is in the side of the door.


CHP has massive staffing issues

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Seem to remember FAE and Patrolman pay were a lot closer when I was FAE, like the state considered those similar responsibilities. Now I’m not even close as FC-B. And I spend more time with bad guys with deadly weapons that outnumber me, lol. Then there’s the longer work week.

$8,236 - $10,216/monthly

Upon graduation from the CHP Academy cadets are promoted to the rank of Officer.

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Seems to me that in your mind that Schedule A contracts are a detriment to the employee no matter what anybody says and that they are a drain on the department. Live your Schedule B life and don’t worry about the rest of us. Hiring is the issue not Schedule A…but there’s obviously no changing your mind, so I’m out of this conversation

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Not all Sch A contracts are the same. Nor should all Sch A contracts be lumped together

4/0 staffing
Paramedic program on all equipment
Paramedic squads
Approx 10,000 calls between 6 stations, including a Sch A/B house.
Not all LG contracts are the same!

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Trust me, I’m very happy living my schedule b life. The thing is, I am forced to worry about schedule A contracts when CAL FIRE employees aren’t compensated adequately because the state has decided that providing cheap fire protection for municipalities is of higher importance than the health and wellness of the employee.

I understand you are having a difficult time seeing this reality because you’re in it, if you took a step back maybe the picture would be clearer. The problem is you are just getting defensive, I have no problem with the people who work schedule A. My issue is the schedule A contracts being a detriment to the health and wellness of all CAL FIRE employees. When the notion of the need to preserve schedule A positions and of course the union due from those positions comes up as a thought during negotiating, instead of the mindset we need to do everything we can to improve the working conditions of all CAL FIRE employees, that is a major issue.

If we get a raise and a municipality squawks at that, to that municipality I say go pound sand. Those municipality are providing cheap fire protection to their resident on the backs of all CAL FIRE employees.


Everything you listed is awesome for that municipality, but how is any of that a benefit to CAL FIRE employees as a whole?

It’s not, it’s a benefit to the City of Temecula. Temecula gets to provide all that service on the cheap to its residents, as the true cost of borne on the backs of all CAL FIRE employees, not just the employees with if in that schedule A contract.


On the contrary, the staffing for 6 stations is north of 100 employees just on the suppression side.

Let me ask you this, how do you staff this department that has north of 200 open FC positions alone and not a promotional list to fill? Open list, how do you train all these “new” employees?

The augment letter came out last month has almost 300 new suppression employees, 240 FF1 for crews and approx 48 that require COA ( DC, BC, FC, FAE) how do you hire, let alone train those employees. You seem to think work week, & pay will solve those problems. Yet the TUU has a call volume less than 1,000 calls per year. How do you retain those employees who take a permanent job just to perm up, and then transfer in 2yr to be closer to home?

The facts are this, the size of the labor pool in the US is rapidly shrinking. Generation Z has different life priorities and values. The dept could lose the RRU Sch A contract tomorrow and more than likely not a single employee would lose their job. They would just have to change work locations and PCA for those that wanted to stay. Here is another fact, the experience level of the department is down to 8.3 years and continues to get shorter. Why is that? 2 reasons

  1. More and more BabyBoomers and Gen X have turned 50 and are leaving the work force just like every other trade in America.
  2. We have begun to change the handcrew program from Inmate FF to Free FF. This is why the OPED has gone down and will stay low for the foreseeable future. More people paying into the system than taking from the system.

The director has been extremely clear, those contracts that aren’t at 3.0 positions per funded position on 7/1/24 will get a 1yr notice of termination of the agreement. Every single Sch A contract could agree to those terms. Yet the dept would still be shortstaffed with continued force hire issues in both A & B positions.

The bottom line here is Demographics are against ALL OF US. So instead of pointing fingers at L2881, The Dept, or LG. Be part of the solution.


Is there anything in writing to support this statement? Do you mean 3.11 positions per funded position? One unit has provided at least one Sched A contract with a projected increase of over 30%. It’s a “legacy” contract currently staffed at 2.6(?) per position. I guarantee you there is not a fire agency of any type that can weather a 30% increase in labor costs in one year, and this (plus the admin fee) puts CF in the same cost profile as every other fire department in the state. This is good for the employees, and good for CF, but it appears that lots of people currently working Schedule A might want to start planning their next work location.

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The Director has stated in many public forums, including the townhall last year that was BDU, SDU and SLU. The goal was 3.11 and the minimum standard that would be accepted was 3.0. He even stated RRU is very close at 2.85 (County Avg) with many of the existing cities already at 3.0 or above. Now those units that still run 2.0 staffing and one that still has a few 1.0 stations will be a different story. Not included here are those Amador contracts. Those for some reasons not explained/understood will more than likely remain at 2.0 during the Amador time period. However all new Sch A & Amador will be a minimum of 3.0 staffing.

The current Strategic Plan talks and staffs at 3.0. As an example, the Sch B engines that have FF2, are all staffed at 3.11 or a total of 10 people for 7-day per week coverage. The FF1 crews are staffed with 3 FC, 3 FAE & 40 FF to get 7-day/week coverage of
1 FC, 1 FAE, 13 FF. Yes there will be those agreements that are lost. The days of CF being the cheapest dept are a thing of the past. The current benefit package(AAV, Holiday, Sick, ETC) when coupled with retirement benefits makes the dept less and less of an option to struggling municipality.

Finally, the current and past director both stated that the 02350 mission would lead the way with increased staffing and the Schedule A contracts would follow along are be terminated.

I know of multiple Sch B station’s that have 2 engines with 6-8 company officers (FC & FAE) permanently staffed and those station’s that have the FF2 02350 staffing have 2-3 FC & 2-4 FAE if they are at a 2 engine station.

This is the reason there are 14+ FFA in 2023 and 14 COA. These training models will continue for the foreseeable future. Especially with Castle & Redding Training centers coming online to meet the demand that Ione & Clark cannot currently meet.


One could make the argument that the department is quickly removing itself as an option for any contracting agency. The single biggest advantage the dept has had is low costs. This levels the playing field for any agency that wants to compete. It’s the American way I guess.


I would say CF is still a great bargain. What people don’t talk about are the hidden costs that CF absorbs. CF pays for most of the HR functions including PERS liabilities. CF also has an indemnification clause absolving the contracting agency of most liability for lawsuits. Those things you can’t put a price on because they are a constant for any agency.

My 2 cents


Here we go again…….


Let’s just worry about the Water Shed.


Theory 1
The staffing shortage for the 56 fill be solve with the loss of some of these pointless contracts.

I’d say 95% of the day to day operations at the unit/station level is to support local FD Missions not the state mission.