Sacramento Metro Fire captain triples $99,000 salary to $316,000 with OT, other pay

Today, Transparent California released 2014 public employee compensation data — complete with names, pay, and benefits — for 35 of the largest special districts in the Sacramento Valley, representing nearly 90 percent of all Sacramento Valley special district workers.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District (Metro Fire) captain Randall Wootton boosted his earnings more than any other Sacramento Valley special district worker surveyed — thanks to an area-high $180,018 overtime (OT) payout plus $37,194 in other pay that more than tripled his $98,832 salary to $316,045.

2014 was Wootton’s third year in a row as Metro Fire’s highest OT-earner, where he collected at least $108,000 in OT every year since 2012:


Such a high concentration of overtime for a single employee was alarming to Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner.

“The public should be concerned that working so many overtime hours for years on end is a recipe for disaster, particularly given the life-or-death situations firefighters routinely encounter.”

The three highest-compensated Sacramento Valley special district workers were:

  1. Northern California Power Agency general manager James Pope: $642,372
  2. Alpha Fund Joint Powers Agency CEO David McGhee: $452,840
  3. Sacramento Municipal Utility District CEO and GM Arlen Orchard: $451,463

The three Sacramento Valley special districts with the highest average compensation packages for full-time, year-round employees were:

  1. Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District (Metro Fire): $193,614
  2. Northern California Power Agency: $192,272
  3. Yuba County Water Agency: $160,993

The average full-time, year-round Sacramento Valley special district worker received $125,646 in total compensation.

Click here to view this information for all 35 Sacramento Valley special districts surveyed.

OT/Other Pay Boosts Earnings

In 2014, the average full-time, year-round Metro Fire employee increased their regular salary by 72 percent with OT and other pay, while 122 employees more than doubled their salary with the additional forms of pay.

Additionally, Metro Fire spent nearly $50,000 per full-time employee just on benefits, an amount that will dramatically increase over the next several years, according to Fellner.

“Largely shrouded from public view, the cost for government workers’ benefits has ballooned to unsustainable heights, crippling local agencies and burdening taxpayers.

Metro Fire, for example, is projected to spend a staggering 50 percent of payroll on retirement costs alone by 2020, an amount 16 times greater than what the median private employer pays.”

To view the entire dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, visit TransparentCalifornia.com

Compensation is defined as total wages plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits. Full-time, year-round employees are defined as those receiving a salary equal or greater than the “annual salary minimum” reported.

To schedule an interview with Transparent California, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.

Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

Categories: 2016, Press Releases

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1 reply »

  1. One minor thought — a fire “captain” is the guy in charge of the four man — excuse me, four PERSON — firetruck. In many districts, that’s a THREE man fire truck.

    My point is, the “captain” title means a lot in the military and most police departments. In such outfits the position entails major management and personnel responsibilities. In “firehouse” context, it’s just another firefighter.

    BTW, the “engineer” in the firefighter crew is the firefighter who drives the truck — and oversees the truck’s maintenance. Another inflated title — something civilian government employees seem to excel at.

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