San Bernardino Settles Nine-Year Dispute With Firefighters

The City of San Bernardino has reached a global settlement with its firefighters, resolving fifteen different legal proceedings ranging from a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuit to several unfair labor practice charges. The estimated price tag of the various actions could have been $40 million.

The settlement clears the way for city firefighters to transfer into the San Bernardino County Fire Department. The City filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9 in 2012.

The settlement calls for the City to:

  • Pay $1,562,187 over city imposed pension cost-sharing
  • Pay $1,142,000 to settle the FLSA claims
  • Make two payments of $1,491,000.00, one this year and one in 2017, to compensate city firefighters for pay and benefits with the county that are referred to as “not comparable”;
  • Pay $430,000 to the county to cover sick leave and vacation time of the transferred firefighters.

The firefighters union, as an unsecured creditor of $14 million, agrees to vote to accept the city’s bankruptcy plan, and will receive 1 percent of its $14 million claim.

Here is a copy of the settlement agreement: 2016 Settlement

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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