103°F
weather icon Clear

Clark County firefighters earn $100K-plus in OT

Updated May 28, 2024 - 9:14 am

Overtime pay more than doubled the base salaries of some Clark County firefighters, costing taxpayers more than $20 million in 2022, county pay records show.

Nine firefighters made at least $100,000 each in overtime in 2022, the most recent data available, which was obtained through a public records request.

Fire engineer Joseph Salazar made $130,000 in overtime, the most of any Clark County government employee. His base pay of $102,000 also was augmented by other forms of pay including $41,500 for longevity with the department, $7,000 for specialty certification and $4,000 for callback to the job after a shift ends. His pay totaled $287,800, excluding benefits.

Fire engineers drive and operate all fire engines, ladder trucks and rescue vehicles, including the 100-foot aerial ladders, county spokesman Erik Pappa wrote in an email. They pump water for fire streams and calculate appropriate nozzle pressure. They also inventory and maintain equipment.

Salazar’s total pay was not the highest among the top five earners of overtime. That distinction went to Laughlin fire engineer William Hill, who made $335,400.

His base pay of $112,000 was bolstered by $124,000 in overtime, $50,000 in longevity pay, $23,000 in callback pay, $13,000 in paramedic pay and $4,000 for “acting in a lower rank.”

Hill was the sixth-highest paid county government employee in 2022.

Of 852 fire personnel, including those who worked only a portion of the year, 765 earned overtime, which totaled $20.8 million. The total payroll for fire personnel was $112.1 million.

Overtime at the fire department has been a constant concern, with the Review-Journal publishing articles in 2017 and in 2009 exposing how much overtime taxpayers pay county officials.

Fire Chief John Steinbeck said that the department has been hiring an “unprecedented” number of recruits in response to a wave of retirements, normal attrition and continued growth in its service area.

Sixty recruits were expected to graduate this month, he said.

“These new recruits are helping to fill available vacancies and reduce overtime costs,” Steinbeck wrote in a statement. “When there are vacancies, we require mandatory overtime from our firefighters to maintain appropriate staffing levels for purposes of public safety and response readiness.”

Like departments across the country, the department has a shortage of paramedics, requiring increased overtime for personnel with this training, he said.

He noted that personnel hired after July 1, 2012, are not eligible for longevity pay, which compensates employees for the number of years they worked for the department.

The overall compensation of county employees is increased by benefits that include payment into the state Public Employees’ Retirement System, or PERS.

Nine of 10 county employees who earned the most in overtime were fire personnel:

Joseph Salazar, fire engineer, total pay $287,800 including $130,000 in overtime, $68,500 in benefits.

Edward Gordon, fire engineer, total pay $291,500 including $124,400 in overtime, $68,800 in benefits.

William Hill, fire engineer in Laughlin, total pay $335,400 including $124,000 in overtime, $88,200 in benefits.

Rodrick Taylor, firefighter, total pay $244,000, including $106,100 in overtime, $65,000 in benefits

Anthony Tanara, fire captain, total pay $262,000 including $105,100 in overtime, $73,000 in benefits.

Steven Simmons, juvenile probation officer, total pay $194,100 including $104,000 in overtime, $51,000 in benefits.

L Taggard, fire captain in Laughlin, total pay $303,700 including $103,000 in overtime, $86,400 in benefits.

Christopher Grinder, firefighter, $251,600 in total pay including $103,000 in overtime, $64,800 in benefits.

Jason Burkhart, firefighter, $205,900 in total pay including $102,300 in overtime, $55,800 in benefits.

John Stutzman, fire engineer in Laughlin, $278,200 in total pay including $100,300 in overtime, $76,200 in benefits.

Contact Mary Hynes at mhynes@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on X.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Who makes $100K at CSN?

A handful of administrators earned $100,000 at College of Southern Nevada in 2022, but the average pay was less than half that.