Those looking for more public union insanity can find it in Orange County California. The Orange County Register reports Lifeguarding in OC is totally lucrative; some make over $200k.
When thinking about career options with high salaries, lifeguarding is probably not one of the first jobs to come to mind. But it apparently should. In one of Orange County’s most desirable beach destinations, Newport Beach, lifeguards are compensated all too well; especially compared with the county annual median household income of $71,735.
According to a city report on lifeguard pay for the calendar year 2010, of the 14 full-time lifeguards, 13 collected more than $120,000 in total compensation; one lifeguard collected $98,160.65. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 with the two highest-paid collecting $211,451 and $203,481 in total compensation respectively.
Currently, Newport Beach has 13 full-time active lifeguards and hires about 210 seasonal and part-time “tower” guards, Newport Beach City Manager David Kiff told us. Lifeguards are organized as part of the fire department. The Lifeguard Management Association represents the 13 full-time, salaried employees in collective bargaining with the city whereas the Association of Newport Beach Ocean Lifeguards represents the part-time, seasonal lifeguards.
In a phone conversation, Brent Jacobsen, president of the Lifeguard Management Association, defended the lifeguard pay in Newport Beach: “We have negotiated very fair and very reasonable salaries in conjunction with comparable positions and other cities up and down the coast.” “Lifeguard salaries here are well within the norm of other city employees.” And therein is the problem: Local public worker pay has become all too generous and out of line with private sector equivalents.
The OC Register article pretty much says it all. Union leaders claim preposterous salaries look reasonable based on the absurd rationale that preposterous union salaries are everywhere you look.
By the way, why are lifeguards organized as part of the fire department?
About the author: Mike “Mish” Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for Sitka Pacific Capital Management. His top-rated global economics blog Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis offers insightful commentary every day of the week. He is also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education. Every Thursday he does a podcast on HoweStreet and on an ad hoc basis he contributes to many other websites, including UnionWatch.