The Board of Commissioners of the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District voted to give Fire Chief Matthew Love a 5.5% raise in his base salary plus a $10,000 bonus after his first year of service to the district.
The Chief came into the district March 21, 2016 at a salary of $128,000. After a job review last month that resulted in the chief earning a 3.9 on a 5-point scale, this month the board debated a pure salary increase versus some combination and settled on a percentage increase over his current base pay plus a bonus.
A survey of six other local districts, showed Fire Chief pay ranging form $133,120 for an Interim Chief in Lehigh Acres to $161,362 in the South Trail district.
Love’s annual pay beginning March 21, 2017 will be $135,040. The $10,000 bonus raises his compensation to $145,040, comparable to other local fire districts. Members of the Board insisted that the bonus is not necessarily a recurring thing and is not counted toward his retirement pay.
Prior to the compensation discussion, Board Chair Carol Morris stated that she would not vote for any increase in mil rate. ‘I will not vote for anything that increases the mil rate that’s on the books.”
Later in the meeting, Chief Love reiterated that his budget plan as explained last fall called for a mil rate of 2.58 for three years, with the current year being the first.
Next on the agenda was a discussion on revising the Fire Chief Appraisal Form. Love asked for ideas on possible revisions to put in a draft and bring back to the board.
Board members asked for fewer categories to rate the Chief on. This year there were 10 categories, with each commissioner asked to rate the Chief numerically 1 to 5.
The debate on changing the rating range to 1 to 10 or allowing decimal ratings such as 4.7 was spirited and the board finally appeared to settle on allowing the use of single digit decimals, giving each commissioner a choice of 50 possible ratings for each category. Love will bring a draft back to the board for further discussion.
Love told the board that he is currently working on capital planning for the 2017-2018 Budget.
“Everything over $1,000, we estimate its lifespan, its replacement cost and then plug that into our budget so we know how much we should put aside for that equipment replacement,” Love said. “Each year we look at the list and determine if our estimates should be revised. We are trying to budget conservatively. With a fire district, we have to look at the reliability and safety components.”
In other business the board took a look at four new job descriptions and approved the Receptionist job description, paving the way for the district to hire someone. They have been using a temp agency for that position recently.
During the Chief’s Report, Love introduced Patty Coram, the district’s new Administrative and Human Resources Assistant, currently in her second week with the district.
The next Fire Board meeting will be March 28, 2017 at 6pm at Fire Station 31, 3043 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach.