Sworn firefighters and higher-ranking officers serving with the Orland Fire Protection District in 2010 made more money than many of their counterparts across the country.
Of the 108 firefighters, engineers, lieutenants, battalion chiefs and the fire chief, 86 sworn personnel made over $100,000 when overtime was added to wages, according to financial records released Tuesday. Chief Bryant Krizik made $157,252, while the lowest-paid sworn firefighter, who started working for the district in Sept. 2007, made $77,095. One engineer surpassed Krizik’s total earnings with $158,024 and overtime pay close to $60,000.
Earnings for both officers and firefighters are well ahead of employment statistics compiled by the U.S. Dept. of Labor, who placed both Krizik’s and the lowest earner’s salaries well into the top 90th percentile for annual wages across the country in 2010.
Factor in health, life, vision and dental insurance, as well as pension contributions and workers comp, 25 sworn personnel took in over $200,000 in wages and benefits. Adding those in, Krizik pulled in $260,014 while the lowest paid sworn firefighter made $125,664.
In total, $23,623,761 was spent on all district employees’ wages and benefits in 2010, and $2,798,077 was spent on overtime.
“This is the first time I am looking at this information,” said Orland Fire Protection District Board President James Hickey. “I had inquired about this in the past, but the answer was never this specific. I was never really given the full information.”
In a move described as a further step toward transparency, the full 2010 wages, overtime and benefits for all district staff were released by Hickey Tuesday morning. The full spreadsheet of the 2010 wages and benefits is expected to be up later this week on the district’s new “Dollars and Sense” feature on their website that details various records and financial information.
“By no means am I stating that I have a dislike for firemen. I do like them,” Hickey said. “Imagine you are having a heart attack. You definitely would want an Orland firefighter knocking on your door because 95 percent of all (Orland) firefighters are paramedics. But taxpayers want to know how their money is being spent, and all I want is to do it in the most cost effective manner possible.”
Messages left for Orland Firefighters Local 2754 President Nick Anastos were not returned.
The district is conducting an audit to see if 11 firefighters hired shortly before newly-elected trustees Blair Rhode and Chris Evoy took seats as trustees, and Hickey was elected president, would be more cost-efficient to hire as opposed to continuing to pay overtime costs. Krizik, and Operations Deputy Chief Joe Madden, have been on paid administrative leave since May. An investigation is being conducted on Krizik, although the district hasn’t said for what.
Several other hirings, firings and resignations have taken place within the district, mostly at the behest of Hickey, Rhode and Evoy since the April election, though trustees Glenn Michalek and Martin McGill have often voted against such decisions.
Wage and Benefit Rundown for Orland Fire Personnel in 2010:
|Personnel||Salary||Salary with Overtime||Salary, Overtime and Benefits|
*Bolded values in these fields are averages of the ranges indicated. Numbers are for six battalion chiefs, 32 lieutenants, 31 engineers and 43 firefighters.
Source: Orland Fire Protection District
National wage estimates for First-Line Supervisors of Fire Fighting and Prevention Workers:
|10%||25%|| 50% |
|Annual Wage (2)||$41,450||$53,360||$68,240||$88,260||$111,120|
National wage estimates for firefighters:
|Percentile||10%||25%|| 50% |
|Annual Wage (2)||$23,050||$31,990||$45,250||$59,900||$75,390|
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics