Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The Elgin Fire Department spent $1.368 million on overtime in 2016, a more than 20 percent reduction from $1.715 million spent in 2015.

Fire Chief Dave Schmidt said the biggest reason for the reduction was about a 45 percent decrease in time lost by staff out on workman’s compensation.

Schmidt said part of the reason for the reduction in injury-related overtime was probably due to the purchase in recent years of bariatric lifts for transporting people to the hospital. The lifts make it easier to move larger people, thus lessening the likelihood of injury for paramedics. Already, the department has seen about a 45 percent decrease in shoulder injuries since 2013.

“All seven of our ambulances have the lifts now,” Schmidt said. “The City Council is seeing a return on investment for having decided to allocate the money for their purchase, which was roughly $32,000 per ambulance.”

Elgin uses a high overtime/ low personnel model for manning its shifts. The model is based on studies claiming that using overtime is about 15 percent less expensive over time than hiring more firefighters, figuring in costs such as pensions and health insurance.

As such, city and fire department officials look at past years’ numbers and other information to estimate how much overtime might be used in each year and budget accordingly. In 2016, that set-aside was $1.7 million.

thanks Dan