COSTA MESA (CBS) — The city payroll for Costa Mesa emergency personnel ballooned by 40 percent last year due largely to overtime pay, according to new data released Thursday.

KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports City Hall wants taxpayers to know there is a good explanation.

As many as 60 firefighters and police officers saw their paychecks grow in a trend that even pushed the total compensation package for one fire battalion chief as high as $346,000 last year.

Hundreds of Costa Mesa city employees including police officers and other workers were laid off last June in a move designed to help the city bring its spending under control.

But less than one month later, a Superior Court judge intervened and barred the city from outsourcing those jobs.

CEO Tom Hatch said despite the eye-popping paychecks, paying for overtime was still cheaper than hiring more firefighters.

“Instead of having a full-time position that’s salary and benefits, we’re just paying overtime at time-and-a-half on salary only, and so there is some additional savings there,” said Hatch.

Instead of having its own fire department, Costa Mesa may join the regional Orange County Fire Authority, Hatch added.

Comments (4)
  1. candlepin bowler says:

    l think more is better,don’t you.l’m a blogger from boston (slow news day here ) we just had a story yesterday in haverihill woman in here 80’s died cause,what union said was a lack of staff on duty.there using this tragedy to pressure the mayor for a more money is nice,more people ,thats better in the long run…and what’s a town ceo.we don’t have anything like that here.but than again you don’t have candlepin bowling in california.look on you tube for that,you mite like it.oh ya. gas is $3.65 a gallon here..

    1. Mike says:

      LAPD has cut ALL overtime for it’s officers….Now they get comp time….

  2. justincase says:

    Yet it took a dozen firefighters to open a safe at a medical marijuana dispensary
    raid. 15 dea six cmpd 12 firefighters.

    What does it cost you guys to change a light bulb at city hall?

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