How to Help Those Affected by SoCal Brush Fires

Some Question Rising Costs at L.A. County Fire as More Than 640 Workers Received at Least $100K in Overtime Pay in 2017

L.A. County firefighters battle a fire at a commercial building in South Los Angeles on Aug. 25, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

L.A. County firefighters battle a fire at a commercial building in South Los Angeles on Aug. 25, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Overtime costs at the Los Angeles County Fire Department surged 36% in the last five years, placing some firefighters among the highest-compensated workers in local government.

The increase comes as the department grapples with staffing shortages and several seasons of extreme wildfires. Yet some county officials and outside experts question whether fire commanders are properly managing their $1-billion payroll.

The county recently launched an audit of the department’s overtime costs and payroll procedures, though it will be months before that is complete. The Times conducted an analysis of the county payroll database, which lists salaries, overtime and fringe benefits received by about 100,000 employees in the last five years. The results show:

More than 640 Fire Department workers received at least $100,000 in overtime in the 2017 calendar year. By comparison, there were 28 such employees in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, which has twice the number of workers, and 48 in public medical and hospital jobs. No employee in civilian departments of the county recorded overtime that high. Two dozen firefighters made in excess of $200,000 in overtime.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.