The average Los Angeles firefighter earned nearly $43,000 in overtime in 2013, up nearly 20% from the previous year, reports The Los Angeles Times.
With overtime and bonuses factored in, the average firefighter was paid more than $142,000 last year, the data show.
While firefighters got the biggest share, overtime was up substantially across city departments, climbing more than $70 million to a total of $378 million in 2013, the data show.
“The city is a 24-hour operation, so overtime is a part of doing business,” City Controller Ron Galperin said in a news release. He urged city leaders to look at management and hiring practices for ways to save money.
The information appears on Galperin’s open data website, which he says he created to improve transparency and give taxpayers “more insight into the city’s true payroll costs”.
The firefighters’ union president did not dispute the controller’s pay figures. He said his members are overworked and desperate for reinforcements.
“We’re at a tipping point where it doesn’t make sense to continue to pay so much overtime without hiring new workers,” said Frank Lima, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City. “That’s not the fault of the firefighter on the street.”
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