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LA Firefighter Trio Earns Nearly $1 Million In OT Pay (Again) 

WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES--Three Los Angeles city firefighters earned a combined $1.36 million last year — $974,779 of which came from overtime pay alone, according to just-released 2016 salary data from TransparentCalifornia.com.

The trio was able to boost their earnings so dramatically as a result of having received the three largest overtime payouts of the more than 550,000 workers surveyed statewide: 

  1. Fire captain Charles Ferrari received $334,655 in OT, with total earnings of $469,198.
  2. Fire captain James Vlach received $332,583 in OT, with total earnings of $469,158.
  3. Firefighter Donn Thompson received $307,542 in OT, with total earnings of $424,913.

Remarkably, this is the trio’s 2nd year in a row as the state’s top overtime earners, having also topped the of the more than 2.4 million government workers surveyed in 2015.

Thompson earns $1.23M over 3 years

Thompson’s overtime pay was at least the 3rd highest of the more than 2 million public workers surveyed in each of the past three years, boosting his total earnings to $1,229,504

Six-figure OT payouts at the LAFD up 760%

Over the past five years, the number of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) workers who earned at least $100,000 in overtime pay increased by 760 percent, rising from 51 in 2012 to an all-time high of 439 last year.

By comparison, there was only one fire employee in the entire state of Nevada who earned over $100,000 in overtime pay last year, according to TransparentNevada.com

LAFD’s OT at national-high levels

At $197 million, overtime pay accounted for 31 percent of LAFD’s total budget for the 2016 fiscal year. This dwarfs the rate of other major fire departments like New York (19%), Orange County (12%), San Diego (12%), Houston (5%) and Phoenix (3%).

In response, Transparent California research director Robert Fellner stated:

“The issue is not a lack of solutions. Those have been forthcoming from a coalition of experts, including those from LAFD’s own ranks, for decades. The issue is lack of a political will for the precise reasons an official outlined nearly two decades ago: fear of political retaliation.”

Transparent California’s full report on overtime pay at the LAFD can be found here. 

Port Pilots earn over $500k

The three highest-compensated Los Angeles city employees were:

  1. Chief port pilot II Michael Rubino, who earned: $582,734.
  2. Port pilot II John Betz, who earned: $501,907.
  3. Chief port pilot II John Dwyer, who earned: $488,607.

To view a more detailed version of this release, please click here.

(Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.) 

-cw