Register reporter Adam Townsend dropped a bomb early this morning with an in-depth report on Fullerton’s astounding overtime costs.
The report summarizes the $3,000,000 spent on overtime last year, listing the top 102 overtime earners (view the Register’s list). Among them, a paramedic named Timothy Hartinger worked the most overtime in 2009 with 1,160 hours at time and a half pay, bringing his total earnings to a glorious $138,117.
Notably, these wage figures do not include an additional 33% in pension contributions or thousands of dollars in health insurance premiums for public safety union members.
Naturally, the overcompensated fire and police union members came up at the top of the list and made their best efforts to deflect criticism with emotional falsities. One fireman played the classic union card, repeating the claim that he would die 10 years earlier because his job is so dangerous. Nice try pal, but CalPERS actuarials have proven that public safety employees live just as long as everybody else.
FFFF favorite Jack Dean made his way into the report, saying “Considering the unemployment situation, it doesn’t appear to be right that there’s so much overtime when so many people are unemployed,” concluding “there appears to be something wrong with this structure.” Something wrong, indeed.
Even the city manager got in on the fun when asked about minimum staffing for firefighters, which significantly boosts their expensive overtime pay. “The provision is there because of the union. If I had my preference, I’d do away with it, but it’s sacred to the firefighters,” said Chris Meyer.
We’ve been hard on Register reporter Adam Townsend in the past, but it’s great to see that there’s still some life left in the Register’s local coverage. It takes a little bit of courage to rock the boat of public safety employees, and hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future.