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Chances are your neighborhood firefighter and police officer
each earns more than $100,000 thanks to overtime pay. Without the
extra hours, though, city officials and department representatives
said stations would fall below the minimal staffing levels that
ensure proper and expected responses.
Also with this story: Graphic breakdowns of the city salaries
and a list of all city employees and their salaries.
Chances are your neighborhood firefighter and police officer each earns more than $100,000 thanks to overtime pay. Without the extra hours, though, city officials and department representatives said stations would fall below the minimal staffing levels that ensure proper and expected responses.

“It’s kind of shocking when you see the numbers for the first time because you don’t see all the issues,” said Councilman Craig Gartman. “It is a better use of our dollars if we just do overtime instead of hiring additional personnel because when you hire someone, that’s a long-term commitment, but a week’s worth of overtime is temporary.”

Close to 60 percent of the Gilroy Fire Department’s 58 full- and part-time employees earned more than $100,000 during fiscal year 2006-2007, according to city figures. One captain outearned Chief Dale Foster thanks to nearly $39,000 in overtime, and several others earned close to that for extra hours on the job; one firefighter received more than $40,000 in overtime pay. The fire department’s average extra-hours collector took home about $21,000.

Close to 50 percent of the Gilroy Police Department’s 117 full- and part-time employees earned more than $100,000, and nearly 80 percent claimed overtime that averaged about $9,000. Seven sergeants outearned a higher-ranking captain, including one sergeant who collected more than $25,000 in overtime last fiscal year.

By comparison, less than 10 percent of city’s 261 full- and part-time employees earned more than $100,000 last year. Former City Administrator Jay Baksa took home nearly $210,000, but he and more than 75 percent of his staff did not collect any overtime, which remained in the four-figure range for mostly maintenance workers.

While pay for the city’s emergency and safety personnel seems high, police and fire representatives said the money ensures sound services. In addition to regular after-hours training costs, just meeting minimum staffing levels requires the departments to pay overtime due to position vacancies and other full-time employees taking sick, vacation or disability leaves.

the entire city’s salaries, sorted by name, department, total pay and overtime.

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