Petition to Demand MOFD Director Greg Baitx to Recuse Himself from Labor Negotiations
Below is a petition asking MOFD Director Greg Baitx to recuse himself from the current firefighter labor negotiations and subsequent vote. Over 1,000 have already signed The Petition.
Why are we, Orindans for Fair Road Funding, getting involved in MOFD’s governance?
Because the two issues, road funding and fire protection, both depend on the same thing, our tax dollars.
In November we passed a new tax on ourselves, a one-percent sales tax for essential services. These services include wildfire prevention, roads and storm drain maintenance. This tax is projected to generate almost $3 million a year. If these funds were used for roads and storm drains, the city could afford to maintain all 123 miles of our roads and not just the 93 miles it currently maintains. But if the city is forced to use that money only for fire prevention, then the status quo on the roads, with 20 percent of Orinda being denied this essential service, will remain.
Currently almost 90 percent of MOFD’s $33 million budget is used for employee compensation with little of the remaining 10 percent being used for fire prevention. And if the firefighters union has its way, that is how things will continue.
The union “controls” three of the five MOFD Board seats (having spent $30,000 in the 2018 election to overwhelm the local opposition). While all three Board Members (Danziger, Donner and Baitx) are conflicted to honestly negotiate a union contract, one, Greg Baitx, is most conflicted (see below for further information).
If he were to recuse himself from the negotiations, the two local directors (Jorgens and Jex) would have a fighting chance to agree to a fair contract, which could allow more MOFD spending on wildfire prevention; which would allow more City spending on roads and storm drains.
Maintain local control of MOFD
Please sign the petition demanding that MOFD Director Greg Baitx remove himself from negotiating and voting for the labor contract benefiting his fellow firefighters.
Greg Baitx has a huge conflict of interest which is threatening the use of the 28 million taxpayer dollars we send to MOFD each year.
First, as an employee of the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD), he is a member of the same union as the MOFD firefighters. MOFD is currently in contract negotiations with its firefighters, who are represented by their union president, Vince Wells. Wells is also president of Baitx’s union. Baitx cannot reasonably negotiate, in our best interests, against his own union president.
Second, any benefits that Baitx agrees to give MOFD firefighters will be used as a benchmark when he and his fellow employees, represented again by Wells, their union president, enter into wage and benefit negotiations with ECCFPD. If he agrees to major increases for MOFD employees, this will help him receive major increases when his district’s contract comes up for renewal.
Third, the firefighters’ unions, state and regional (outside money) provided 90 percent of the funding for his election campaign in 2018. Over $9,000 for Baitx and over $10,000 each for his two fellow board members, Danziger and Donner. This completely overwhelmed the local candidates in what used to be a low-key local election. The union bought the election to control this current round of labor negotiations, raising the bar for all regional fire districts. By forcing Baitx to recuse himself, the local directors, Jorgens and Jex, would be on equal footing with Danziger and Donner, bringing back compromise and more local control.
So again, please sign the petition demanding Baitx’s recusal from the contact negotiations and subsequent vote.