Las Vegas Sun

December 22, 2014

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Overtime among public employees not limited to public safety personnel

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Rookie Clark County firefighters pull hoses as part of their training in this 2008 file photo. Overtime has been trimmed in the fire department.

Extra shifts for police, firefighters and other public employees added up, costing local governments in Southern Nevada about $60 million in overtime pay in 2012.

Although overtime makes up only a fraction of the billions these governments spend on salaries and benefits for their employees, it is one area administrators have some control over, and they’ve been cutting back in recent years as budgets tightened.

Still, that didn’t stop hundreds of employees from making tens of thousands of dollars in overtime pay in 2012, according to an analysis of salary data obtained by the Sun from Clark County, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Metro Police.

The most overtime hours, and consequently the most pay, goes to police, firefighters and other public safety employees.

In the Clark County Fire Department, which found itself at the center of a sick leave and overtime abuse scandal in 2010, 33 employees made at least $30,000 in overtime in 2012. The highest payout went to firefighter Jeff Reagor, who received $50,050.84 in overtime pay on top of $83,866 in base salary.

In Las Vegas, fire investigator Laura Brown raked in $70,348 in overtime last year, the most among city of Las Vegas employees. The fire department as a whole paid out $13.7 million in overtime; 192 of the department’s employees earned at least $30,000 in overtime.

High overtime payouts for firefighters, police, corrections officers and others can be attributed to a number of factors, including union contracts, mandatory minimum staffing levels and unusual shift patterns — for instance, Clark County firefighters work 24-hour shifts, increasing the amount of overtime available any time they have to fill in.

And while the vast majority of overtime pay goes to these public safety employees, thousands of workers responsible for everything from construction projects to inspections earned millions in overtime last year.

Here’s a look at the top 10 overtime earners in the public sector in 2012 employed in departments outside of public safety:

    • John Rodriguez

      Employer: Clark County

      Department: Real Property Management

      Job Title: Construction project coordinator

      Overtime: $36,633

      Base Salary: $80,828

    • Michael Knerr

      Employer: Clark County

      Department: Aviation

      Job Title: Senior systems technician

      Overtime: $32,824

      Base Salary: $78,894

    • Enrique Binyons

      Employer: Clark County

      Department: Administrative Services

      Job Title: Park police officer

      Overtime: $32,088

      Base Salary: $77,418

    • Joseph Wichert

      Employer: Las Vegas

      Department: Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services

      Job Title: Principal community program specialist

      Overtime: $54,475

      Base Salary: $65,137

    • Arthur Diebold

      Employer: Las Vegas

      Department: Administrative Services

      Job Title: Business specialist

      Overtime: $32,969

      Base Salary: $90,366

    • James Wilkerson Jr.

      Employer: North Las Vegas

      Department: Public Works

      Job Title: Public works inspector

      Overtime: $32,755

      Base Salary: $82,613

    • Marc Walters

      Employer: Las Vegas

      Department: Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services

      Job Title: Senior technical systems analyst

      Overtime: $31,300

      Base Salary: $90,488

    • Carol Diaz

      Employer: Las Vegas

      Department: Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services

      Job Title: Senior technical systems analyst

      Overtime: $29,035

      Base Salary:$90,579

    • Juan Leon

      Employer: North Las Vegas

      Department: Public Works

      Job Title: Public works inspector

      Overtime: $28,319

      Base Salary:$82,588

    • Russell Davis

      Employer: Clark County

      Department: Aviation

      Job Title: Airport operations dispatcher

      Overtime: $27,819

      Base Salary:$54,995

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