Firefighters sue district
Lake Valley Fire Protection District allegedly shortchanged two firefighters from pay and benefits during a three-year period, according to a complaint filed by two Sacramento County lawyers.
The complaint, submitted last month to the California Eastern District of the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, alleges the fire district violated components of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
The firefighters making the accusations are Anthony Carr and Daniel Rapose. Their complaint alleges the district paid the two an hourly rate – ranging between $6.75 to $14.50 – but assigned other work without compensation with a promise of “future employment as full-time firefighters” and wages.
In addition, the complaint alleges the two weren’t entered in the district’s retirement program and were not paid for sleep time.
Lake Valley Fire Chief Brian Schafer refuted the claim.
“We have looked closely at the allegations, believe we are fully compliant with the law and we expect to prevail in court,” Schafer said. “We would also like to state that the Lake Valley Fire District operates with the highest level of professionalism and integrity. We treat our employees fairly, and our constituents are well served.”
Carr and Rapose are unsure how much is owed to them in wages and overtime during the past three years, the complaint stated, since pay documents are in the hands of the district.
The two could not be reached for comment. Rapose is believed to be in Modesto while Carr might still be in the area. Carr was last at work in November, said attorney Joseph Rose.
Rose said the monetary amount, along with damages, could be in the range of “hundreds of thousands” of dollars.
“Basically the employees were either promised compensation and never received it or compensated for some work as firefighters but not for other work as firefighters,” Rose said.
William Wright, an attorney assisting Rose, said a court date hasn’t been scheduled yet, saying the lawsuit is in the early stages.
“We need to get some records, some time cards,” Wright said.
Schafer declined further comment. Arthur Hartinger, an attorney for Lake Valley Fire District, did not return a phone call.
Rose said he tried to settle the matter in November with a 10-page letter addressed to Schafer. In it, he cited the staffing requirements at Station 5 – a house remodeled into a fire station at Boulder Mountain in late 1995 – as well as the district’s board of director’s meeting minutes and related documents.
Rose said he is awaiting a formal response from the district to the complaint which should arrive at the end of this month.
– E-mail William Ferchland at email@example.com
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When the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center was built 40 years ago, there were only 19,400 people living in Douglas County.