On the other side is City Auditor Craig Kinton's just-released look-see at the amount of overtime paid to Dallas-Fire Rescue personnel. And, for the most part, it's good news: In FY2008, he says, the city forked over $10.7 million in overtime, but just two years later that figure dropped by $3.8 million. The reason, he says: The city upped its number of firefighters. But, Kinton says, the city could have saved so, so much more:
"By hiring additional firefighters to cover personnel shortages caused by unscheduled absences due to sick leave, injury leave, military leave, jury duty, etc., DFR and the City of Dallas could have saved an additional $2.8 million to $4.7 million (estimated) in overtime expenditures during that same time period. The DFR submitted a FY 2012 budget proposal to hire 200 firefighters which would virtually eliminate overtime costs due to unscheduled absences."
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Which is why Kinton is recommending that once a year the fire chief sit down and figure out how many folks he needs to put out fires without using overtime. Because, apparently, that's not happening at the moment. And among several other suggestions, Kinton also wants the city to take a long, hard look at its personnel rules, since the DFR isn't enforcing its rules that say firefighters can only take 30 sick leave days every calendar year. The whole audit -- one of Kinton's longer reports -- follows in full.