Los Angeles Firefighter Made $1.67 Million in Four Years


Overtime pay that was at least triple his regular salary in each of the past four years allowed Los Angeles firefighter Donn Thompson to collect $1.67 million in total earnings from 2014 to 2017, according to an analysis of pay data from Transparent California.


“Such outsized overtime pay allowed Thompson to clear over $400,000 in cash earnings for each of the past four years – despite drawing a regular salary that ranged between $86,000 and $92,000,” Transparent California reported.


“Collecting overtime pay that is triple your regular salary in just a single year is basically a one-in-a-million feat,” Transparent California Executive Director Robert Fellner said. “Thompson’s ability to do so over four consecutive years is without peer and, quite frankly, boggles the mind.”


Thompson has been among the city’s top overtime earners for decades, as reflected by a 1996 Los Angeles Times report that cited him as an example of LAFD’s “paycheck generosity.” His pay also was mentioned in a 2009 Los Angeles Daily News story and a 2014 San Diego Union-Tribune story.


Just-released 2017 pay data reveals that three firefighters top the city’s list for highest overtime pay:

  • Firefighter Donn Thompson, who received $306,405 in overtime, for total earnings of $437,341.

  • Fire Captain Charles Ferrari, who received $284,882 in overtime, for total earnings of $443,437.

  • Fire Captain James Vlach, who received $280,182 in overtime, for total earnings of $431,518.

(Source: Transparent California, May 14.)

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