06/26/2022

Firefighter Earned $300K in Overtime by Working More Hours Than Actually Exist

Los Angeles firefighter Donn Thompson had a busy year in 2017. If his pay stubs are to be believed, he literally never stopped working.

Data obtained by Transparent California, a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, show that Thompson pulled down $300,000 in overtime pay during 2017, on top of his $92,000 salary. Over the past four years, Thompson has earned more than $1 million in overtime, according to Transparent California’s database. Thompson’s ability to work so many hours “boggles the mind,” says Robert Fellner, director of research at the institute.

. . . Here’s how the math breaks down. Thompson, like all firefighters in Los Angeles, works 2,912 hours every year. With a base salary of $92,000, that comes to an hourly rate of $31.60. That means Thompson would earn overtime pay at a rate of $47.40 per hour—that’s one and a half times the base rate. But earning $302,000 at a rate of $47.40 per hour would require working more than 6,370 hours. Add that to the 2,912 hours he worked as a salaried employee, and you get more than 9,280 hours worked, despite the fact that there are only 8,760 hours in a year.

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