LA lifeguard’s pay tops $500,000, investigation discovers

FOX Enterprise’ Jeff Flock reviews from the Jersey Shore, the place it is costing households extra to hit the seaside and the boardwalk. It pays to be a lifeguard in Los Angeles County. A lot, in reality, {that a} authorities watchdog is sounding the alarm to taxpayers within the California […]

It pays to be a lifeguard in Los Angeles County. A lot, in reality, {that a} authorities watchdog is sounding the alarm to taxpayers within the California county and past.

An investigation by OpenTheBooks.com found that LA’s highest-paid ocean lifeguard, a captain named Daniel Douglas, raked in a complete of $510,283 in whole compensation final yr, practically half of which – $246,060 – was from time beyond regulation pay. Douglas’ base wage is $150,054, and he introduced in one other $28,661 in “different pay” and $85,508 in advantages to surpass the half-million-dollar mark.

Douglas shouldn’t be the one high-earning lifeguard on the county’s payroll. The No. 2 earner in 2021 was lifeguard chief Fernando Boiteux, who made $463,517, adopted by part chief Kenichi Ballew-Haskett at $409,414. All advised, 98 LA lifeguards made no less than $200,000 final yr, and OpenTheBooks.com founder Adam Andrzejewski wrote in a substack put up explaining the breakdown that “it is time we put Baywatch on pay watch.”

lifeguard

A lifeguard and a girl at Venice Seaside in Los Angeles on Nov. 23, 2017. (Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto, File by way of / Getty Pictures)

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Andrzejewski advised FOX Enterprise, this “is an instance of everlasting authorities that is not being modified on the poll field. Even in excessive circumstances, the place lifeguards make a half million {dollars}, the individuals are nearly powerless to rein within the misallocation of sources.”

lifeguard los angeles

A Los Angeles County Lifeguard truck driving on the closed Venice Seaside in April 2020. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-Information by way of / Getty Pictures)

He mentioned that it might not simply be LA taxpayers footing the invoice, both. 

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Adrzejewski pointed to the truth that lifeguards are thought-about first responders, a precedence within the American Rescue Plan Act handed by congressional Democrats final yr underneath President Biden, and claims Los Angeles obtained a $1.9 billion “bailout” from the laws.

american rescue plan

President Biden with Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer and Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March 2021. (Getty Pictures)

“We do not know the way a lot of that cash on a fungible foundation leads to the pockets of lifeguards,” Adrzejewsky mentioned, “however one of many causes they will pay $510,000 for a lifeguard is due to taxpayer cash from working- and middle-class taxpayers and all of us from across the nation – $1.9 billion of the American Rescue Plan Act is over there in Los Angeles County.”

Los Angeles County advised FOX Enterprise that there’s a lot extra to the story. 

For starters, Daniel “Danny” Douglas, and different high-earning lifeguards listed by OpenTheBooks.com, serve on specialised groups that journey to different elements of the state and even the nation to help in emergencies comparable to wildfire disasters. Final yr, Douglas alone served 114 days on a COVID incident administration crew, and 70 days on hearth incident administration groups on six separate fires along with his service as an ocean lifeguard. 

“These are all along with his regular lifeguard obligations,” the spokesperson mentioned of Douglas. “So it isn’t like he is simply sitting round on the seaside along with his toes within the sand amassing time beyond regulation. He is performing some main issues on these incident groups, that are actually important within the construction of wildland firefighting. And, as we noticed with the COVID response, [in] serving to the communities.”

wildfire

The Dixie Fireplace burning close to Milford in Lassen County, California. (Noah Berger, File / AP Newsroom)

For lifeguards’ work on the particular groups, the spokesperson mentioned, LA County is reimbursed by each the state and federal authorities, and has been previous to the pandemic.

The county mentioned in an official assertion that in 2021, “the Los Angeles County Fireplace Division had roughly 166 full-time Ocean Lifeguards and 600 seasonal recurrent Ocean Lifeguards. All our lifeguards, together with these in management positions, have taken on an infinite duty. They’re liable for defending 72 miles of shoreline, 10,526 sq. miles of open ocean waters, Catalina Island, and 1,686 sq. miles of Los Angeles County inland waterways.”

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“In that very same yr, we had over 50 million beachgoers and our lifeguards executed over 9,286 ocean rescues and responded to over 13,303 medical calls,” the assertion continues. “Throughout massive scale brush fires, our lifeguards tackle extra obligations to work on specialised incident administration groups to assist firefighters all around the state – as they did in 2021 when wildfires burned an estimated 2,568,948 acres right here in California. Moreover, our lifeguards had been a essential a part of the COVID-19 response efforts. The Lifeguard Division supplied personnel, logistics, and incident administration {qualifications} to assist COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccinations all around the County of Los Angeles.”

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