Firefighter overtime surged 65% in a decade, costing California $5 billion a year in wages

  • Source: Los Angeles Times - Metered Site
  • Published: 12/09/2019 12:00 AM

Faced with an unprecedented string of wildfires across California, overtime costs for firefighters have surged by 65% in the last decade, pushing annual wages to nearly $5 billion, according to a Times analysis of state payroll records. The overtime spending is further evidence of a statewide toll: Wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, killed scores of residents and disrupted power supplies across large swaths of the state — and, increasingly, they are chewing through government budgets. With overtime, firefighters are among the best-paid workers in California government, in some cases earning sums that rival their commanders. In the city and county fire departments in Los Angeles, for example, the number of firefighters earning more than $100,000 in overtime alone has surged from 41 in 2011 to 1,085 last year.


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