Montgomery County firefighters double pay with overtime

Local,Maryland,Rachel Baye

See 2011 overtime earnings for Montgomery County employees:
View in PDF format
View as a spreadsheet

Dozens of firefighters, correctional and police officers and transportation employees in Montgomery County are doubling or nearly doubling their salaries with overtime pay.

More than 280 employees earned more than $30,000 last year in overtime pay, according to records obtained by The Washington Examiner under a freedom of information act request. Fewer than 1,000 employees did not earn any overtime.

The employees who earned the most overtime pay -- 14 of the 15 highest overtime earners were firefighters -- raked in more than $200,000 between overtime and their normal salaries in 2011.

Top overtime earners in 2011
NamePositionOvertime HoursOvertime PaySalary
Raymond R. SanchezFire/Rescue Captain1,386.25$95,541.71$114,683.18
Patrick StantonFire/Rescue Captain1,165.25$93,888.73$117,896.18
Patrick J. McMahonMaster Firefighter/Rescuer1,478.5$90,153.80$89,611.57
Thomas A. PotterFire/Rescue Lieutenant1,313.7$87,019.51$91,851.00
William C. RichardsFire/Rescue Captain1,242.5$86,911.10$116,393.36
Roosevelt Butler*Firefighter/Rescuer III1,545.75$85,692.76$76,871.52
John P. BentleyFire/Rescue Captain1,303.5$83,611.10$106,732.18
Robert (Michael) CloseFire/Rescue Battalion Chief1,357.5$82,757.85$126,801.99
Michael L. GlazierFire/Rescue Captain1,234.5$82,565.08$111,136
Terryl A. HaynesMaster Firefighter/Rescuer1,400.42$81,189.80$88,593
Top overtime earners in Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
NamePositionOvertime HoursOvertime PaySalary
Roger E. CastellCorrectional Officer III (Corporal)2,821.5$79,383.53$63,819
Mika Hodge-SmithCorrectional Officer III (Corporal)2,592$68,104.11$59,574
Paul MitchellCorrectional Officer III (Corporal)1,888$60,453.66$72,880.74
Towanda R. MillsCorrectional Supervisor (Sergeant)1,509$54,606.11$68,135
Terrence T. StaffordCorrectional Shift Commander (Lieutenant)1,296$53,768.64$94,900.08
Top overtime earners in Police Department
NamePositionOvertime HoursOvertime PaySalary
Michael L. KanePolice Officer III1,043$54,168.19$83,839
Gloria J. JacksonPublic Safety Communications Supervisor1,372$52,388.55$83,143.26
Jason K. StraughanPolice Officer III1,082.25$52,012.53$75,616
Eric J. HarrellMaster Police Officer905$51,946.25$88,030
Richard J. CunninghamMaster Police Officer725$48,316.55$104,777.71
Top overtime earners in Department of Transportation
NamePositionOvertime HoursOvertime PaySalary
Robert A. JamesRide On Bus Operator2,297.89$53,887.23$60,453.79
John T. CamardaRide On Bus Operator2,275.88$51,522.90$48,413
Jacqueline WellsRide On Bus Operator1,933.7$47,732.44$53,682
Joshua E. FraserRide On Bus Operator2,304.02$47,094.17$51,864
Avodon L. OatesRide On Bus Operator1,510.54$43,553.63$60,453.79
Source: Montgomery County government

Compared to other county employees, those in the Police Department, Fire and Rescue Service, Department of Transportation, and Department of Correction and Rehabilitation earn the largest amount of overtime pay each year.

At the top of the list of roughly 5,000 employees in the four departments, Chevy Chase Fire and Rescue Capt. Raymond Sanchez added $95,541.71 in overtime pay to his $114,683.18 salary by working 1,386.25 hours beyond his 48-hour-a-week schedule. Behind him, Capt. Patrick Stanton, who works in the county's Emergency Communications Center, earned $93,888.73 by working 1,1625.25 overtime hours on top of his $117,896.18 salary.

In third place, Master Firefighter Patrick McMahon, who also works in the Emergency Communications Center, more than doubled his $89,611.57 annual salary with $90,153.80 -- 1,478.5 hours -- in overtime.

Sanchez and Stanton did not return requests for comment by deadline, and McMahon declined to comment.

The highest-earning non-firefighter was Cpl. Roger Castell, a correctional officer. He earned $79,383.53 in overtime pay last year, $16,000 more than his salary of $63,819, by working 2,821.5 hours over his regular 40 hours a week. Behind Castell, Cpl. Mika Hodge-Smith, also a correctional officer, worked 2,592 overtime hours and earned $68,104.11 in overtime, well above her $59,574 salary. Neither Castell nor Smith could be reached for comment because neither has a publicly listed telephone number.

Earning nearly 65 percent of the value of his annual salary of $83,839 in overtime, Officer Michael Kane was the top earning police officer last year. A cop in the Silver Spring traffic squad, he earned $54,168.19 working 1,043 hours of overtime last year. Behind him, Gloria Jackson, a supervisor in the Police Department's Communications Division, worked 1,372 hours of overtime to earn $52,388.55 last year, 63 percent of her annual salary, $83,143.26. Neither Kane nor Jackson returned calls for comment.

Though many Department of Transportation employees -- particularly Ride On bus drivers -- worked the most overtime hours last year, their salaries are lower, making their overtime earnings the lowest of the bunch.

The transportation employee who earned the most overtime last year was bus operator Robert James, who worked 2,297.89 hours to earn $53,887.23 in overtime pay, nearly as much as his $60,453.79 annual salary. James did not respond to requests for comment.

In fiscal 2011, which ended June 30 of last year, the four departments spent about $36.5 million, exceeding their $27.7 million budget by 31.5 percent, according to CountyStat, the county's data analysis arm.

Fiscal 2012 has the potential to be worse. In the first half of the year, the departments spent $20.7 million on overtime, about 73 percent of their $28 million budget. At this rate, the departments are expected to spend about $43 million, $15 million more than their budget.

The level of spending is reflected in the overtime paid out to the departments' employees.

Officials and union leaders attribute the high levels of overtime spending largely to insufficient staffing.

"If the County Council, County Executive is going to refuse to hire the bodies ... then you're always going to have these higher overtime costs," said John Sparks, president of the county chapter of the International Association of Firefighters.

For the police department, significant overtime hours were used last year to staff the Emergency Call Center, which must be staffed at all times, said spokesman Paul Starks.

Running a department by requiring overtime is inefficient, said Joan Fidler, president of the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, which plans to analyze the causes of excess overtime.

Overtime costs are not just driven by the number of extra hours people work, but also by the salaries of the people working overtime.

When the Emergency Call Center or a district station needs officers to work overtime, the union contract requires the most senior officers to be offered the opportunity first, Starks said, which can mean paying higher levels of overtime pay.

But overtime should be filled by the least expensive person qualified, said County Councilman Phil Andrews, D-Gaithersburg/Rockville, who is researching the specific rules that increase overtime costs.

View article comments Leave a comment