Letter to the Editor:


Letter to the Editor:

At this link, you will see Burbank City’s official 2020 report of compensation for City workers earning more than $100,000 per year:
In the private sector, people earning this kind of money work on salary and under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are not required to pay overtime for high-paid workers. See: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_overtime.htm
So the City should not do so either. This never happens in the private sector.
And tracking overtime for people working remotely and in the field, as many of these workers do, is based on an honor system. That’s like the fox guarding the hen house.
There is no reasonable explanation for the City’s decision to pay overtime on top of very generous salaries.
The City’s current budget deficit is in the millions of dollars.
And salaries comprise the bulk of our City’s budget. 
Rest assured, the City will have to pay this massive overtime. You will notice a 6% rate hike being proposed at BWP and you can rest assured we will be facing another local tax increase. 
I invite you to comment with your opinion on this matter of overtime.

Christopher Matthew Spencer


    1. Writer cites the “FLSA” but links to the state Labor Commissioner. In any event he’s wrong on all of his points, many of which are refuted by the specific written details in his very citation.

      The only non-independent contractor employees who are exempt from an overtime differential post-8 hours a day in California are supervisorial and managerial employees, and there’s a strict test to determine exactly who is one.

      Ask Starbucks what happens when you misclassify employees as “supervisors” in order to get out of paying them OT. There is *no* exemption for salaried employees as such either. Otherwise every employee on the books would get paid “a salary” in California and there’d be no overtime for anyone. The law already anticipated that reality.

      Locally at home, Burbank’s employees are governed by labor contracts and not the FLSA or Commissioner’s rules, and it’s cheaper for the city to pay OT to current employees than to have to hire additional people. It’s really very simple and not at all a scandal.

      • James,

        I have seen your name around and I know you are a “real” Burbanker. Thank you for commenting.

        I also know you are about 15 years older than I am. I welcome your comments and wisdom.

        Here is one example of OT that concerns me and there are many.

        The titles “Fire Battalion Chief” and “Fire Captain” indicate supervisors. This cannot be disputed. See the link again: https://www.burbankca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument?id=56573

        Fire Battalion Chief John Owings example:

        Base pay: $168,994.65
        Overtime pay: $202,452.04
        Cafeteria plan: $16,920.,02
        Other Pay and Cash Benefits: $31,121.24
        Total Gross Pay: $419,487.95

        This is not reasonable. I know non-Burbank fire department employees elsewhere who said that Burbank is a closed shop and that they cannot get in. They would gladly work here.

        Much of page #1 of the 13 pages of over $100K workers are supervisors in the fire department.

        A recent 5150 hold that occurred in the neighborhood involved a fire truck, paramedic and MANY workers from the fire department.

        To place one person on a 5150 hold.

        This is way overkill.

        It needs to stop and OT needs to come off of all supervisor’s pay.

        If you do that you will solve Burbank’s budget deficit.

        Perhaps you did not look at my link…

        Please do. Much of the OT is earned by supervisors.

    2. Well, Mr. Carlile I disagree with you. It is very scandalous that year after year we have policeman and fireman and other city officials making well over $200,000 per year with overtime. I am not falling for the “it’s cheaper to pay overtime” routine. The city council’s have been bamboozled and keep going for that Jedi mind trick. Perhaps the council allows it in exchange for the union vote.
      Mr. Carlile, do you want a man with a gun helping you who has gone without sleep and working for more than 12 hours? Do you want that paramedic who has been working for over 24 hours straight to make life and death decisions for you or a family member?
      Bottom line for the taxpayers of Burbank – we are being fleeced by overtime pay, looted from the inside. We as a city do not have the money. It is unsustainable and it will continue until WE the citizens put a stop to it. Mr. Spencer is a hero. He has fought for all of us in the past (and in the courts) and won. In my opinion, he knows his stuff and we should be supporting him.

    3. The residents of Burbank should be outraged at these salaries. I doubt most people are even aware how inflated these salaries are.

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