The City of Niagara Falls, NY will be looking for new police and fire chiefs this New Year. Both chiefs stepped down from their positions just prior to the end of 2018. On first glance this type of change is not unusual. Many high-ranking public safety officials plan retirements around this time of year, however in this instance, neither men have retired. In fact, they both have opted to remain with their respective organizations, only in different lower-ranking capacities. What would prompt such a move? Some are theorizing overtime and other employee benefits as the root cause.
High-ranking public safety personnel, including fire and police chiefs are often classified by their employers as overtime exempt executives which make them ineligible for traditional FLSA overtime. Additionally, many high-ranking public safety personnel are also ineligible for various wage enhancements and other benefits typically provided to rank-and-file members through collective bargaining agreements. These two factors can create inequity between the salaries of the individuals tasked with leading an organization in comparison to other lower ranking fire and law enforcement officers. It is becoming increasingly common for rank-and-file public safety officers to make more money than their bosses. This is not a new issue. In fact, thirty-two high-ranking Chicago Fire Department officials made a similar move in 2017. Click here for more on that story.
In Niagara Falls, Fire Chief Thomas Colangelo returned to the rank of Battalion Chief for the city this past November and Police Superintendent E. Bryan DalPorto returned to the rank of Patrol Captain on December 31, 2018. According to one city official, Superintendent DalPorto could earn $30,000 and $40,000 more per year as a Patrol Captain, as opposed to chief of the department.
Click here for more on this story from WGRZ News 2.