The city of San Diego’s Fire Compensation study, prepared by Buck Consultants, reports that the Total Annual Employer Contribution for health benefits in San Diego ($5,575) is $965 less than the lowest comparable city, Oceanside ($6,540).
The city of San Diego pays $3,487 less than the average of all agencies included in the survey ($9,062).
The city of San Diego pays $8,263 less than the city of Encinitas which makes the largest contribution ($13,838).
For two years, San Diego Fire Fighters have not received an increase in the city’s health care benefits, in the face of 23 percent increases in premiums over the same two years (based on Kaiser rates). This translates into an average pay reduction of $400-500 a month for a veteran fire captain as he/she must now pay the additional premiums out of pocket.
Given the nature of their work, health care benefits are a significant benefit in a fire fighter’s compensation package. It is often cited as one of the factors that would cause a fire fighter to leave for a more competitive agency.
Bottom Line: The city of San Diego contributes the least of any of the 23 agencies surveyed, and does not provide a competitive public-sector benefit for your fire fighters.