The number of London Firefighters earning a salary of at least $100,000 a year has more than doubled over the past 12 months.

In fact, as of last year, nearly 2 out of 3 members of the department were earning a six figure salary.

The newly released figures, contained in documents obtained from London City Hall, are part of the so-called Sunshine List — an annual release of public sector workers in Ontario that earn over $100,000 a year.

According to figures for 2013, a total of 239 members of the London Fire Department made the list.

That’s up from 105 in 2012, and 110 in 2011.

There are approximately 400 members with the London Fire Department, meaning almost two out of three — and well over half — are earning six figure salaries.

President of the London Professional Firefighters Association, John Hassan, offers a number of explanations for the dramatic year-over-year spike.

“We did just receive last year partial salary payments for 2013, and 2012 – so that would’ve appeared on 2013 salary numbers.” he said.

“The department also hasn’t hired for at least a couple of years, so we’re down quite a few firefighters, and that has created quite a lot of overtime. So, with retirements not being filled… and people being off on short-term and long-term injuries, those people have to be covered as well. It seems to be a bit of an anomaly.”

The release of updated salary figures come at a time when the LPFFA is engaged in a drawn out arbitration process with the City of London on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Hassan thinks that should be of greater concern to taxpayers.

“This whole arbitration process may actually cost London taxpayers six figures, or seven figures, as far as the cost of city lawyers and experts they keep trotting out to show that somehow we shouldn’t be getting, what we think is a fair increase based on our bargaining history and that parity relationship (with London Police).”

London Police will release their updated Sunshine List numbers on Thursday afternoon.

Last year, 191 officers earned at least $100,000 a year.

Not including Police, a total of 356 city employees earned a six figure salary in 2013.

That includes 239 members of the London Professional Firefighters Association (up from 105 in 2012), 107 City of London management employees (up from 87 in 2012), 8 members of CUPE Local 107 which represents outside workers (none in 2012), as well as 1 employee each from Tourism London and the London Convention Centre (no change from 2012).

All publicly funded boards, ministries, and municipalities must submit salary disclosure information to the Ontario Ministry of Finance by the deadline to be published on March 31st, 2014.

Source: Sunshine List Shines Bright on London Firefighters | (CFPL AM) AM 980