City Makes Payroll Correction to Pay Back Overtime Owed to Firefighters

Friends of Davis Fire

On Wednesday, the city of Davis announced that city staff had recently identified and corrected a payroll error related to overtime pay for city firefighters.  The error occurred while calculating the statutorily-required overtime premium pay for actual hours worked and the contractual premium pay (callbacks, shift extensions, etc.) required per the MOU between the city and the firefighters.  This resulted in overtime underpayment to 32 firefighters totaling $244,113.82.

Sources told the Vanguard the error occurred as Human Resources and Payroll did not account for changes in firefighters’ contracts that entitled them to overtime when they were “called back” due to shortages of employees.  Recent hires by the city will result in a reduction in callbacks and thus less pay out in overtime.

According to a release, “To rectify the issue, City staff examined each Firefighter’s timecard since December 2013, when the most recent change in overtime pay was imposed. “ The city added, “To complicate matters, the City switched from paper timecards to an electronic record keeping system during this same time period, making the correction process more challenging.  The final result determined the firefighters were owed additional pay.  The wage payments to correct the error were made in the December 12 payroll cycle.”

“These types of situations occur from time to time.  I am pleased that City staff acted swiftly to correct the error.  The City recently hired five Firefighters to fill positions that had been vacant for nearly a year.  I feel confident that this will greatly reduce the need for overtime in the future,” stated Dirk Brazil, City Manager.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. South of Davis

    David wrote:

    > This resulted in overtime underpayment to 32 firefighters totaling $244,113.82.

    Based on the “13,800 residential parcels” in town number that was posted a lot when people were talking about water meters that means we all just got a $17.69 “Parcel Tax”.

    With all my (not in Yolo County) firefighters making well over $200K I can tell you that much of it is based on “gaming” the union contract so the towns they work for pay as much as possible to each firefighter every year.

    A few years back the SF Chronicle found that many school janitors MORE than doubled their pay since (I found this on the SF Gate site) “overtime was charged when custodians and security workers responded to school alarms at night and on weekends. Union rules guarantee them a minimum of four hours of overtime pay when they respond to an alarm after normal work hours. If they responded to four alarms staggered throughout a Saturday, they could earn up to 16 hours of overtime.”

    The SF school district was able to make some changes after they found some janitors “worked 217 hours of overtime – an average of seven hours a day for 30 days” and I hope the city of Davis will do the same to make sure “call-backs and shift extensions” (paying time and a half) do not become the “new normal”…

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