Millions of tax dollars are being shelled out to cover overtime compensation for Oceanside city employees, and some are wondering if it’s necessary.
According to compensation report records, the city paid $3.66 million alone in overtime wages to Oceanside Police Department officers in 2018. Records show several officers made between $56,000 $89,000 in overtime pay alone, which, in some cases, is more than double their take home pay.
But that's nothing compared to one officer who took home $160,000 in overtime pay on top of his $91,000 salary. That's more than a quarter million in total compensation for the year.
In the Public Works and Water Utilities departments, the city paid out more than $600,000 in overtime wages to 173 of its employees.
Among those 173 workers is a water treatment supervisor that took home nearly $30,000 in overtime pay on top of an $84,000 salary.
“If you came to me and said, ‘Is there a case here that should be investigated?’ I'd say yes,” attorney Doug Applegate said.
Applegate said the numbers raise two big questions:
“My first question is why is this officer suddenly getting a spike and is it also out of line with other members of the department?” he said.
Are there potential explanations for high overtime wages? Sure. But California has had a history of unjustifiably high overtime pay.
NBC 7 reached out to the City of Oceanside for comment. Mayor Peter Weiss deferred questions to the City Manager Michelle Lawrence. The city said Lawrence has received NBC 7’s questions but has not had a chance to respond.