Almost three quarters of Gilbert's 100 highest paid employees last year worked in the town's police and fire departments. Of the 43 fire department employees who made the list, most were fire captains or battalion chiefs whose base salary can be as high as $75,000 a year.
Battalion chiefs' salaries can reach $103,000 per year, according to town officials. Fire Chief Collin DeWitt was paid the most in his department and number four among all town employees at almost $154,000.
But Gilbert Police Chief Tim Dorn came in at number 16 overall, behind two police sergeants, a lieutenant and a police officer.
In fact, that police officer was the second highest paid employee in his department last year at $143,000. In Gilbert, the police officer position tops out at about $69,000 a year.
But police officers generally work more overtime than other town employees. And some of that overtime is actually paid by outside employers who reimburse the town for the officer's time and the town in turn pays the officer. For example, off-duty officers are often hired by contractors to maintain traffic safety.
"We can argue semantics, but basically those funds were paid through the town for their off-site work," Town Manager George Pettit said. "It's not tax money, but it is public money."
Town Councilman Les Presmyk said he began looking into the town's overtime policies after seeing information provided to the Tribune.
He said he doesn't necessarily object to the overtime, but thinks the council should look at the town's policies at some point in the future.
"There's the opportunity to either share the wealth, if you will, or just make sure we're not allowing some of our folks to work so much overtime that it affects their family life and their regular job performance," Presmyk said. "If you have someone working six days a week, after a while, it does start to affect their family life."