(The Center Square) – Four employees of the City of San Diego Fire Department earned more than $200,000 in overtime in 2021 and were the highest paid employees in the city.
A police officer was the highest paid in the city in 2021 with a gross salary of $359,138 including $219,805 in overtime. Another police officer earned $345,337 with $212,995 in overtime.
The biggest overtime recipient in 2021 was firefighter Eric Dunnick, who was one of three plaintiffs named in a court case against the city which claimed that the city was underpaying firefighters with the way it determined the rate of overtime pay. The lawsuit was filed in 2019 and represented 705 fire department employees. The city settled the lawsuit for $3.4 million in 2021.
Dunnick’s regular salary was $35,698 in 2020 and he received $204,462 in overtime for gross pay of $309,281 that year. In 2021, Dunnick’s base salary was $42,642, but he earned $236,937 in overtime and had a gross salary of $329,948.
Media spokespersons for municipal personnel, fire and emergency services did not respond to emails seeking an explanation.
The city paid $113.4 million in overtime in 2021, an increase from the $110.8 million in overtime it paid the previous year, according to data received in an open records request. .
San Diego has increased the number of people working in public safety over the past nine years. The number of budgeted full-time and part-time employees in the police department has increased from 2,402 in 2012 to 2,584 in 2021, according to the city. 2021 financial report. The city had 1,208 employees in the fire, life safety, and homeland security departments in 2021 and that number increased to 1,526 in 2021.
The city spent $866 million on public safety in 2021, which was 49% of its overall spending. By comparison, the city’s transportation spending in 2021 was $122 million.