Let's be honest. We don't know or understand how or why a city employee anywhere can or should be paid over $700K for salary and OT per year - especially in a job which has strict safety guidelines regarding hours worked. The OT was most likely paid legally, approved by leadership and performed for necessary duties. There are, however, real concerns, and this is not simply an issue of "good for him" or "department salaries are too low".
Does anyone think this is not a very negative headline and news story for public support for FFs, for politicians looking to cut fire and police budgets, for future salary negotiations, for support for strict working hours protection, for creating an impression that OT can be abused, and for the creating the perception that fire departments are run ineffectively? The few OT abuses that become public always diminish public confidence and support ( e.g. https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/...oper-sentenced-overtime-abuse-investigation-0
You can't blame the individual, the Lieutenant. He is doing his job and performing duties required and approved. But you have to question LAFD leadership, and any department leadership, which operates in a way that requires or enables employees to earn $700K, or $400K - more than city and department leaders, more than other firefighters and significantly more than the general public. Leadership would have to know the negative impacts and possible job-related physical impacts on members who also may subsequently have sick leave, line-of-duty medical conditions and retirement impacts related to extremely excessive OT which they are approving in their departments. And you have to ask, "Really, is any one person so indispensable in a large city department, that he or she has to be at work all the time - and what happens if they can't work? Does the department shut down?" So maybe - the OT can be better shared, and other members can be trained or hired to perform these duties. And maybe there is a better way to distribute OT so more member can benefit.
I am not arguing about the needs for OT - for both rank-and-file members and for the department to operate effectively. But, let's be honest - is this a good $700K story - for the individual, for the department, for firefighters? I don't think so.
Have good OT policies and agreements, follow them, pay members decent salaries, provide effective and fair leadership and take care of the troops.