City self-imposes costly minimum personnel mandate for fire department at taxpayer expense – Michigan Capitol Confidential
How to raise some firefighters’ salaries to over $200,000
A Warren Fire Department sergeant had a base salary of $91,897, but was able to use overtime to increase his total salary to $204,993 in 2020 and $254,612 in 2021.
Similar scenarios played out across the state, making firefighters one of the highest paid city government employees.
Collecting overtime from fire departments is lucrative because local government leaders have put in place minimum staffing requirements. When positions become vacant due to injury, illness, or attrition, a city meets the minimum staffing mandate by paying staff members who voluntarily accept overtime.
An Ann Arbor fire truck driver collected $164,045 in 2021, well above the $147,126 the city’s fire chief collected that year.
The city of Battle Creek paid 56 of its employees $100,000 or more in 2021, including 22 on firefighter payroll.
The town of Warren has announced plans to launch a fire cadet recruitment program. It’s a way to avoid having to pay the overtime required under a minimum staffing mandate, according to Fire Marshal Wilburt “Skip” McAdams.