With the unemployment rate in Las Vegas 13% and state and local governments in dire financial straights, the pay and perks of government employees, especially firefighters, is under increasing scrutiny.
The Las Vegas Sun reports that the often fit and buff firefighters call in sick at twice the rate as rank-and-file county employees and four times more than managers.
Maybe it has something to do with union rules requiring that replacement firefighters be paid time-and-a-half when they fill in for a sick worker.
The Sun article singles out Battalion Chief Renee Dilligham who “worked about 75 percent of her scheduled 2,912 hours in fiscal 2009. Her sick leave plus vacation totaled 28 shifts, or about three months away from work. So she worked about 2,200 hours.
“But even after being sick for 382 hours and on vacation for 292 hours, Dillingham managed to pull down an extra 1,199 hours of ‘callback’ pay — overtime pay, plus a contribution to the employee’s retirement fund. Callback pay amounted to about $80,000, almost equal to Dillingham’s $93,144 base salary.”
On February 10th, Fire Chief Greg Gammon sent an email to his charges not to spend so much time at the gym and to watch the sick leave.