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FF402

California Today: Hefty Paychecks for Police Officers and Firefighters

10 posts in this topic

 

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In 2015, five San Jose police officers each made more than $400,000.

A payroll error? In fact, they earned every penny by the book.

Hefty compensation, it turns out — including regular pay, overtime and benefits — is not unusual for public safety employees in California.

“It is routine now for firefighters to be up over $200,000, $300,000,” said Mark Bucher, chief executive officer of the California Policy Center, a public policy think tank. “Look at just about any city and you’ll see the same thing.”

 

FULL ARTICLE: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/us/california-today-police-firefighter-pay.html?_r=1

 

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I believe at this time, CA is about 15 Billion in debt at this time.

vodoly and x635 like this

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20 hours ago, SECTMB said:

I believe at this time, CA is about 15 Billion in debt at this time.

 

A little off........

 

California's actual wall of debt is $443 billion

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38 minutes ago, GreatPlains588 said:

 

A little off........

 

California's actual wall of debt is $443 billion

Wow holy sh## that's some heavy debt 

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As a result, a firefighter paramedic with a salary of $87,700 who puts in long overtime hours can end the year with total compensation well above a quarter-million dollars.

 

So, if a FF/EMT-P makes $250k in a year after overtime, the OT cost is $162,300.  The regular salary is at just over $40/hour (assuming a 4 platoon schedule for math purposes), which correlates to about $60/hr for OT.  This comes out to 2,700 HOURS of overtime!!!  That's more hours than the regular schedule (2,183 hours)!  Now, this also means that these firefighters are working 4,883 hours per year, when there is 8,760 hours in a year.  They are literally working MORE THAN HALF THE YEAR!!!

 

I don't know about you, but I would want some free time and some extra hours off, especially since this business is extremely stressful, both physically and mentally.

 

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One reason for the high compensation: It can be cheaper for jurisdictions to pay big overtime — at 1.5 times or double regular pay — than it would be to add staff because of the pension liabilities attached to each new hire.

For San Ramon firefighters, every dollar of salary means roughly one more dollar in pension contributions, said Paige Meyer, the fire chief. “When I’m paying over $2 for a full-time employee and I can pay a dollar and a half for overtime,” he said, “I’ve got a substantial savings.

 

The math doesn't seem to work out right.  If police and fire are making the unusually substantial overtime earnings, it might actually be cheaper to hire a few more people to alleviate the amount of overtime, as there is a tipping point where overtime does cost more than hiring more personnel (that point is different for individual agencies based on pay rates and benefits).

 

But, then there is this...

 

If everyone is working this extraordinary amount of overtime, what is it doing to the personnel?  Are they getting enough sleep?  Are they becoming mentally and physically deprived of basic needs because they are at work more than they are at home?  Are injury and accident rates rising?  Are they setting themselves up for that preventable injury or accident?  Working that much, as I've said before in another thread, is that this much work will inevitably wear out the personnel to a point where cognitive abilities will not be fast enough to stop an injury or accident from happening.  Why kill ourselves in the process of not trying to kill ourselves.  I'm fairly sure we all want to make it to retirement.

AFS1970 and COH Bulldog like this

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Big OT number are almost always a result of failure to properly staff a department. With enough staff to ensure minimum staffing and cover some anticipated OT they would not see these "windfalls". Also, the article notes their numbers are total compensation (salary+benefits+OT) which is different than how much actually money the individuals take home. One must wonder the cost of health insurance and other similar expense in CA vs. other places. I know our City adds roughly 40% to any wages to figure benefits. In many places the pension systems are very different, some pay based on your total best year or years, other only on base wages. Also, while some FD's in CA run 42 hr weeks, many (most?) still run 56's? which is 40% more hrs. 

 

As noted above someone's math has to be way off, to say that every $1 of OT costs $1 to the pension system. That would be a 100% contribution and would be basically make overtime cost 3 times straight pay instead of 1.5?

AFS1970, BFD1054 and dwcfireman like this

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I wonder what effect the wildfire season has. If a FF deploys on a wildfire assignment for a week, are they paid every hour they are on that assignment? I'd assume they would be, since when they're back at basecamp they aren't really free to leave. That might cause someone to rack up a lot of OT hours.

dwcfireman likes this

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On 3/7/2017 at 8:07 AM, antiquefirelt said:

Also, while some FD's in CA run 42 hr weeks, many (most?) still run 56's? which is 40% more hrs. 

 

 

FLSA only requires OT for over 53 hours per week.  Some states in the north east NY included have a 40 hour work week for firefighters.  

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1 hour ago, 16fire5 said:

 

FLSA only requires OT for over 53 hours per week.  Some states in the north east NY included have a 40 hour work week for firefighters.  

Sadly I know this all too well, as this is the system I've been working for 20+ years now. My point in noting that above was that some of the higher salaries maybe attributed to working more hours. All other things being equal, the added hours would make pay 40% higher than the average taxpayer working 40 hrs a week.

BFD1054 and dwcfireman like this

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