Topeka Fire Officials Get OT Despite Guidelines

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Several high-ranking officials in the Topeka Fire Department have been collecting overtime despite federal labor guidelines that say they could be exempt from that overtime.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (linked below) reports that 11 battalion chiefs and shift commanders in the Topeka Fire Department earned a collective $145,338 in overtime in 2012.

Jacque Russell, human resources director for Topeka, says under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the officials could be exempt from overtime. Russell says fire department managers have received overtime for at least six years, and that likely stemmed from an effort to maintain salary differences between management and non-management positions.

In fire departments in other cities, including Overland Park, Shawnee and Wichita, positions with equal or fewer responsibilities than Topeka's shift commanders and battalion chiefs can't receive overtime.
Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,