The article regarding overtime payments to certain ranking Kern County Fire Department members and other County employees was enlightening (“Kern scrutinizes fire overtime pay,” Aug. 7). Our police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters are our frontline responders to emergencies and other problems that require intervention.

I am extremely appreciative of their service and sacrifices. Firefighters paid what I consider to be exorbitant and excessive overtime pay are not guilty of any wrongdoing, they are simply taking advantage of a flawed county system of selection for duty and payment.

The Californian also reported that Sheriff Donny Youngblood is seeking just over a million dollars to keep his deputies on the street. Where to get the money for Youngblood’s request? It appears the County has a hefty pot of extra money in its overtime budget to easily cover his request and maybe, at the same time, help out the libraries and a few other lagging accounts in other departments. Is it time to re-think how the County’s budget is structured.

Steve Bass


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