• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

OC lifeguards get new contract, less benefits

Newport Beach lifeguards are heading back to work with a new contract that ups job security but downgrades benefits.

June 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Newport Beach lifeguards are heading back into the water Wednesday with a new contract that enhances job security but downgrades benefits.

Budget negotiations revealed in May showed that most lifeguards earned more than a $100,000 a year in total pay.

Base salaries for Newport Beach lifeguards range from $58,000 for the lowest-paid officer to $108,492 for the top-paid battalion chief, according to a 2010 city report on lifeguard pay.

With overtime, more than half of the 13 fulltime lifeguards cleared $100,000, while the rest made between $59,500 and $98,500. Adding in pension contributions, medical benefits, life insurance and other pay, two battalion chiefs earned more than $200,000 in 2010, while the lowest-paid officer made more than $98,000.

These salary levels prompted a public outcry.

Under the new contract, new hires will have a pension worth up to 50 percent less.

The guards will also increase the amount they pay toward those pensions from 3.5 to 9 percent.

The lifeguards whose salaries were in question pointed out that they hold management roles, have decades of service and are considered public-safety employees under the fire department, the same as fire captains and battalion chiefs.

The fulltime guards train more than 200 seasonal lifeguards who make between $16 and $22 an hour, run a junior lifeguard program that brings in $1 million a year and oversee safety on nearly seven miles of sand.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Load Comments