Philadelphia Spent $159M in Overtime Last Year

Three city departments paid out a vast majority of the overtime in 2012

By Vince Lattanzio
|  Monday, Apr 8, 2013  |  Updated 4:35 PM EDT
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Philly's Top Overtime Earners


Philadelphia City Hall


An analysis of Philadelphia city employee overtime by reveals police, fire and prison staffers top the list for earning the most overtime last year.

Staffers from those three departments took home a whopping 83-percent of the city's $159.9 million OT tab in 2012, according to compensation data obtained by 

Of the city's 51 departments, Philadelphia Police topped the list with an overtime bill just shy of $65 million.

The data shows 31 police department employees earned more in overtime than their base salary last year. Three of them, all detectives, earned more than $100,000 in overtime. 

The spike comes as the department reduced its staff by 83. 


Police Detective $68,772 $106,878 $175,650
Police Detective $68,772 $101,121 $169,893
Police Detective $68,772 $100,684 $169,456
Police Detective


$98,581 $168,102
Police Detective $69,521 $98,427 $167,948
Police Detective $69,180 $97,503 $166,683
Police Detective $68,772 $95,359 $164,131
Police Detective $68,431 $94,405 $162,836
Police Detective $69,180 $93,652 $162,832
Police Detective $68,772 $93,537 $162,309
Fire Fire Service Paramedic $63,915 $93,217 $157,132
Police Detective $67,954 $91,497 $159,451
Police Detective $68,431 $91,086 $159,900
Police Police Sergeant $71,272 $90,169 $162,358
Fire Fire Service Paramedic $65,016 $89,972 $155,185

The Philadelphia Fire Department was second on the overtime earnings list. 

Fire employees earned $34.5 million in OT last year. Overall, the department grew with 66 new workers on the payroll, but fewer employees put in for overtime than the year before.

Rounding out the top three departments is the Philadelphia Prison System with $33.4 million in overtime.  With the additional OT, more than 40 corrections officers added $50,000 or more to their base pay in 2012.

Mark McDonald, press secretary for Mayor Michael Nutter, says the city has always grappled with the issue of overtime and that understaffing is a major reason for the rise.

“With regard to both prisons and fire, we recognize that we’re using a lot of people on overtime and we’re trying to identify, train and put in place, new staff to reduce those costs," he said. "Because, in the long run, it’s probably a more efficient and healthy way to run an operation.”

The Philadelphia Fire Department is in the process of adding 150 rookies to the department, according to McDonald. He says a new class of 160 recruits start training in May. Officials hope the rookie additions will alleviate staffing stress in the department.

The city employs 27,897 full-time staffers and more than half earned extra-hours cash. The median overtime take was $5,102.

Citywide, overtime payouts were up by $21 million over the year before.

The Philadelphia Water Department's overtime payments increased by more than $70,000 over 2011. While the Philadelphia Streets Department's OT grew slightly -- by $45,000.

Sixteen departments did not log any overtime last year – an improvement by two over 2011. 

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