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Retiring Fire Chief Milks County for Maximum Benefits for Minimum Service

Posted by Sherlock Pwahrow on March 10, 2015 at 9:35 PM

A Grateful Public Showers Its Brave Firefighters with Benefits

The general public rightly looks up to the intrepid members of their various local fire departments and they are regularly esteemed as role models. They are the face of heroism at its best. Such as that demonstrated by the heroic efforts of the 9/11/2001 first responders.

But unfortunately not everyone in every fire department maintains such a heroic ethos.Case in point: Mark Aston. Who, hiding behind medical loopholes and doctors notes, valiently backed into a benefit package designed for the REAL heroic firefighters.The ones who daily risk their lives to protect their community from a host of threats.

Not those like Mr. Aston who, gaming the system, hide behind medical loopholes and doctors notes to fleece the taxpayers of sorely needed funds to fight real fires.

Is it any wonder that California's cities are so beholden to the powerful Policemen and Fireman's unions?

Who collectively have extracted (and continue to bilk/extract) huge indemnities from the state in billions of dollars in benefits that --while the recipients may mostly deserve them for so courageously protecting the public-- it was always a fantasy to suppose that the State, County and City treasuries could ever afford collecting growing legions of ex public officials living in the lap of luxury.

While those that pay their bills --the taxpayers-- get tossed out of their homes by thoughtless bankers. So the Police and Firmen's unions continue to hold all forms of California government financial hostage to perhaps overly grateful taxpayers and their elected representatives.

Here's why it's so disconcerting:

  • Amid suspicions and recriminations, Sonoma County Fire Chief Mark Aston --who ruled the Sonoma County Fire Department from 2008 through 2012-- proceeded to thank the public that is bankrolling his comfortable retirement by double dipping out all of the doe that he could before he walked out the door. 
  • Witness the fleecing of the Sonoma County Fire Department and the citizens whose task it is to protect by rewarding such little accomplishment with such a big golden parachute. 
  • There has been ongoing concern over funding issues 

During a tenure marked by controversy, Aston championed an aggressive campaign to consolidate a perceived mish-mash of local fire departments and way stations under one banner. Some worried over his moves to consolidate the districts and to centralize their command.

Board Chairman David Rabbitt acknowledged the unsettled feelings. "There's a lot of anxiety."Aston was paid $181,312 in 2012. He leaves that unfinished work to an out of town successor for a barely earned cushy government pension plan.

Cadillac Benefit Package for a Nissan Versa's Worth of Work at Best

Backing into a benefit package designed for the heroic firefighters who daily risk their lives to protect their community from a host of threats. Not those that hide behind medical loopholes and doctors notes.

Mark Aston retires amid allegations- Poster child for overly generous government pension plans that daily suck California's treasuries dry. 

Aston's agressive funding pushes for more discretionary cash for fire services alledgedly led to clashes with Sonoma County elected officials and with the local government administration --to name a few-- over his creative financing methods and potential saute'ing of Sonoma County Fire Department books. When asked for clarification by local media, Aston stated that he didn't want to say anything.

Aston, is it any wonder that California's cities are so beholden to the powerful Policemen and Fireman's unions? Who collectively have bilked (and continue to bilk) the state of billions in benefits that --while the recipients may mostly deserve them for protecting the public-- a grateful citizenry, and the taxpayers' representatives,

Former chief Mark Aston retired after taking medical leave in July 2012


Sonoma County Fire Chief Mark Aston stepped down from his post while on medical leave and remained off-duty until he retired at the end of 2012. Aston, who led the county fire department since 2008, was out on medical leave from mid-July for an injured foot and never returned before his retirement, in December 2012. When cleared by a friendly doctor to return to work before his retirement, he used accrued vacation and administrative leave to remain off-duty. Aston was paid $181,312 in 2012.

Aston, who retired to his home in Coarsegold, north of Fresno, denied any tension with county administrators, saying "I really don't want to say anything."

He announced his retirement on a date that perfectly extended his Sonoma County service to five years and thus made him eligible for a nice fat county pension. Courtesy of dumbfounded taxpayers.

Oh the last full measure!

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