Twenty-nine Providence firefighters made more in OT than base salary in last fiscal year
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WJAR) —
A rescue captain tops the Providence firefighter pay list, making $178,000 in overtime and earning a total of $255,000 during the last fiscal year.
NBC 10 News obtained 2017 fiscal year pay records for the fire department from the city after a public records request.
Four firefighters earned more than $100,000 in overtime alone.
NBC 10 also learned the following:
- 30 more firefighters made at least $70,000 in overtime
- 29 firefighters made more in overtime than in base salary
- 30 firefighters made more than $150,000 in total pay
- 184 firefighters, which is more than half the department, made over $100,000 in total pay
Two years ago, Mayor Jorge Elorza imposed a shift change as he criticized firefighter overtime, pointing to a firefighter who made $116,000 in overtime and $198,000 total.
“This has been a gravy train for them for a very long time,” Elorza told NBC 10 in October 2015.
At the time, Elorza said the shift change would put an end to it.
The overtime issue has come up again, when City Councilman John Igliozzi recently criticized ballooning overtime, saying the city paid $12 million in firefighter overtime last fiscal year, compared to about $7.5 million before the shift change.
Igliozzi’s comments came as the city was about to pay millions to the firefighters to settle the fight over that shift change.
“What we've seen is what I warned him about, is that overtime would go through the roof,” firefighters union president Paul Doughty said in reaction to the overtime numbers obtained by NBC 10.
With the imposed shift change, Doughty said there weren't enough firefighters to fill the shifts and some of the overtime was forced.
“It wasn't unexpected. This is one of the fallouts. It's directly related to switching from four shifts to three shifts. I warned the mayor about it,” Doughty told NBC 10.
Elorza's office said he was travelling Monday and unavailable to comment on the pay list. His spokeswoman reiterated points Elorza has made one the issue.
Two weeks ago, after Igliozzi raised the overtime costs, Elorza told NBC 10 while overtime has gone up, overall costs are down because the city was paying 100 fewer firefighters who retired in the wake of the shift change.
“Absolutely, it was worth it,” Elorza told NBC 10 on November 20. “When you look at the savings we're realizing as a result of it, we're seeing millions of dollars in savings.”
The mayor also said the new contract requires fewer firefighters per shift, which should lower costs.
More than 80 new firefighters just joined the department, which is expected to cut down on the overtime shifts others are working.