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Firefighters endorse Moorhead for mayor
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Manteca Firefighters Association Local 1874 is endorsing Debby Moorhead for mayor.

MFA President Bill Canfield said it was a unanimous vote of the membership.    

“She has been very supportive of the firefighters,” Canfield said.

Moorhead said she was thankful for the backing and was appreciative for everything that the firefighters do for the citizens of Manteca.

Canfield noted council member Moorhead was the only candidate to ask for the firefighters’ support. He said the association doesn’t make it a policy of actively trying to endorse in local races although they have done it before.

They backed Willie Weatherford in the 2002 mayor’s race. Weatherford ran unopposed in 2006. The other candidates this year are former Manteca  mayor Carlon Perry and retired municipal senior planner Ben Cantu.

No other municipal employee union has backed any council or mayor candidate so far this election. Several have indicated they do not plan to do so.

Weatherford said Friday he did not believe it would have been appropriate for him to ask employee groups for their backing given negotiations on a new contract start in January as well as the fact two years ago the economic downturn forced the city to ask employee groups for contract concessions.

“I‘ll still be supportive of the firefighters regardless of who they support,” Weatherford said.

Two years ago the MFA carefully weighed options the city laid out to deal with the $11.7 million budget deficit that loomed on the horizon. The option was the same being offered to all employee groups - forgo negotiated raises and make some concessions with benefit packages and there would be no layoffs within the employee group.

The firefighters agreed to salary and benefit concessions. They also let the city off of an extremely problematic hook in the signed four-year labor contract that called for an expensive three-man minimum per shift on all engine companies. They then within their own ranks policed vacations so staffing would never drop below the three-man level. They also embraced restructuring proposals and other cost saving measures proposed by Fire Chief Kirk Waters.