Lifeguards in Los Angeles raked in six-figure executive-level salaries last year, the report shows

Lifeguards in Southern California are not typical beach bums. Well, at least that’s not how they get paid.

Corresponding shocking new report by nonprofit regulator Open the Books, lifeguards in Los Angeles County, California, failed for hundreds of thousands of dollars last year – with top earner, lifeguard captain Daniel Douglas taking home $510,283 in compensation.

About half of the lifeguard captain’s massive paycheck came from overtime on the Pacific, the watchdog said.

The second-highest-paid lifeguard chief, Fernando Boiteux, earned $463,517 in 2021, with $142,529 of his total salary going to benefits. And the third, department head Kenichi Ballet-Haskett, earned $409,414, with more than $100,000 in compensation listed as “other pay.”

But the lucrative pay isn’t cemented at the top. Rather, Open the Books auditors found that nearly 100 lifeguards in LA made at least $200,000 including benefits last year, while 20 made $300,000 and more.

“It’s about time we put Baywatch on pay guard,” the watchdog noted, adding that in addition to their incredible six-figure salaries, LA guards can also take early retirement at age 55 with 79% of their salary .

The group found that only two of the county’s top 20 earners were women. It collected the information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Exactly why guards in Southern California make executive-level money annually is a question many tax-paying residents will soon be asking. The LA lifeguards pay the national average of $33,000 in the shades. after comparable.

On his websiteThe Los Angeles County Fire Department has a rigorous swim testing and eligibility system and claims that its lifeguards “have a long history of being one of the top marine rescue agencies in the world.”

Still, most readers would probably agree that there’s something fishy about So-Cal.

In response to the Open the Books report, the LA Fire Department issued the following statement: “The Los Angeles County Fire Department had approximately 166 full-time ocean lifeguards and 600 seasonally recurring ocean lifeguards. All of our lifeguards, including those in leadership positions, have taken on enormous responsibilities. They are responsible for protecting 72 miles of coastline, 10,526 square miles of open ocean waters, Catalina Island and 1,686 square miles of inland waterways of Los Angeles County.

The statement continued, “In the same year we had over 50 million beachgoers and our lifeguards performed over 9,286 sea rescues and responded to over 13,303 medical calls. During large-scale bushfires, our lifeguards take on additional responsibilities to work on specialized incident management teams to support firefighters across the state—such as in 2021, when wildfires burned an estimated 2,568,948 acres here in California. Additionally, our lifeguards have been a crucial Part of the response to COVID-19. The Lifeguard Division provided personnel, logistics and incident management qualifications to support COVID-19 testing and immunization throughout Los Angeles County.” Lifeguards in Los Angeles raked in six-figure executive-level salaries last year, the report shows

Laura Coffey

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