Average Los Angeles City firefighters made around $43,000 in overtime in 2013. That’s up nearly 20% from the previous year, based on data released by the City Controller on Tuesday. With that overtime, plus bonuses and base salary, the average firefighter took in $142,000 last year. Is that too much money?
“For some of them, yes,” answered Morning Answer co-host Ben Shapiro. “I don’t think all firefighters are created equal. You know, there are some firefighters who have a proven record of bravery who have run in to a thousand fires. For those folks, sure, why not. If you’re talking about the brand new firefighter…who is just off the train, who doesn’t know the first thing about firefighting – I don’t understand why the pay scale is exactly the same?” He went on to point out that the problem with public sector unions is that they are bargaining against the taxpayer.
Co-host Elisha Krauss offered the suggestion of “hazard pay” like members of the military receives. “I wonder if there could be a level of hazard pay, like Ben was saying, for the guys that are more experienced, that are the first in line to go in to the burning building,” said Elisha.
Co-host Brian Whitman asked a caller why we don’t hear more about the excessive firefighter salaries. Mike from El Segundo said that it’s not just the unions but the managers, who make about 5% more than the firefighters. He also believes that the news media doesn’t want to expose what the unions are doing.
Click on the player above to hear Brian, Ben and Elisha talk more about whether or not firefighter salaries are excessive and take callers who have first hand knowledge.
Click here to read a statement from the LA Fire Department regarding the report.