According to a government waste watchdog, the top lifeguards in Los Angeles County earned nearly $400,000 each in 2019.
“Being a lifeguard in California can be unbelievably lucrative,” Adam Andrzejewski, chief of the watchdog group OpenTheBooks.com, wrote in a recent Forbes article.
Andrzejewski (pronounced An-gee_eff_ski) reviewed L.A. county records and found that the top seven lifeguards made up to $392,000 each in 2019.
But those seven were not alone in earning big dollars. “Overtime pay drove earnings into corporate executive range,” Andrzejewski noted.
“Thirty-one lifeguards made between $50,000 and $131,493 in overtime during the year,” Andrzejewski’s research found. “For example, Daniel Douglas (comp: $368,668; overtime: $131,493), Jaro Snopek (comp: $292,455; overtime:$119,669) and James Orr (comp: $281,270; overtime: $113,015) each made over $100,000 in overtime alone.”
The lifeguard corps was also nearly all male. Only two of the top twenty-eight lifeguards were female. However, those two women earned a hefty paycheck, as well. Both earned over $279,000 in 2019.
Interestingly, the county’s most valorous lifeguards were not among the top earners. Several of the guards who have earned medals of valor didn’t even crack $200,000 in 2019.
“The 2020 Medal of Valor winner, Edward ‘Nick’ Macko, an ocean lifeguard specialist, earned ‘only’ $134,144 in compensation. His compensation ranked 167th out of the 1,001 employees in the L.A. lifeguard corps,” Andrzejewski wrote.
These highly paid lifeguards were all beach workers. On the other hand, Andrzejewski found that pool guards only made around $50,000 annually.
Andrzejewski concluded his report by asking L.A. County residents if they agreed with the lucrative pay given to their area lifeguards.
“Why beach lifeguards earn so much money is a question L.A. taxpayers might start asking. A lifeguard’s job can be dangerous, but it’s unclear why residents should foot the bill for so much overtime when the state’s public employees already cost taxpayers $45 billion a year,” he concluded.
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