SAN FRANCISCO – One way to become a millionaire is to spend nearly all of your disposable time at work on overtime. That is what one deputy with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office has done for the past seven years, raking in a truckload of money, according to reports.
Deputy Barry Bloom is a 29-year law enforcement veteran. He spends the bulk of his time with the chronically understaffed agency at City Hall, patrolling the perimeter of which is policed by the sheriff’s office 24-hours a day. He routinely puts in 100-hour work weeks, the Daily Mail reported.
Bloom’s base salary in fiscal year 2022 was $123,790, but overall he earned $530,935, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Without taking into account other benefits that might be present, Bloom made $407,145 beyond his base pay, the bulk of which is overtime.
Since 2016 Bloom has averaged 95 hours of work per week, which means he’s collected 55 hours of weekly overtime, totaling more than $2.2 million in additional pay.
Handling 100-hour work weeks during the past two fiscal years is an immense amount of time spent on duty, and leaves Bloom with just 10 hours between shifts to eat, sleep, shower, and do anything else outside of his job as a public safety monitor, reported the Daily Mail.
Although Bloom was the top overtime earner with the sheriff’s office, he isn’t the only one taking advantage of the short-staffed agency. Two other employees came close to cracking $2 million in overtime since 2016, with one earning $1.9 million and another collecting $1.8 million, according to the Chronicle, citing public records.
At a time when crime in the coastal city is raging, and homeless, drug-addicted individuals populate the area around City Hall, Sheriff Paul Miyamoto said Bloom’s work habits are well known in the Civic Center neighborhood.
“He doesn’t just sign up for overtime, but he actually gets the work done,” Miyamoto said of his deputy.
During the past several months, Bloom made about 28 “Narcan saves,” Miyamoto said, referring to the medication that can reverse the impact of an opioid overdose.
It’s noteworthy that in the first five months of 2023, preliminary reports show there were 346 overdose deaths in the city – an increase of more than 40 percent from the same period in 2022.
The department is currently short of 176 sworn full-time positions, 41 non-sworn positions, and 24 cadets. Not all overtime is voluntary. Most staff members are compelled to work at least two overtime shifts per week, which has caused many to look for work elsewhere, according to the Daily Mail.
“We have periods where deputy sheriffs get tired of all the forced overtime, and they look for jobs elsewhere because it’s just too much,” said Ken Lomba, president of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.
Lomba is especially worried about the staffing shortages at county jails, the Chronicle reported.
“When (jails are) understaffed, it gets extremely risky for the safety of the incarcerated people and for the safety of the deputies,” he said, adding, “We’re just one emergency away from a lawsuit.”
A spokesperson for the department said, “The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office is aggressively hiring to fill empty positions to fill those mandatory minimums to prevent these high levels of overtime we have been experiencing since the onset of COVID-19.”