Olson was not the highest paid firefighter in California. There were two other city fire employees in the state, and one county employee, who made more in 2009. Their job titles did not come with the responsibilities of the chief.
A Ventura city fire battalion chief earned $486,205, a division chief in the San Bernardino County Fire Department made $461,342, and a Milpitas fire-prevention inspector took in $416,628.
The controller's database lists the total pay of each employee, which includes sick, vacation and special pay. The database does not take into account whether the employee retired that year or continues to work.
Huntington Beach city officials are considering reforms to the compensation costs in the future to reduce pressure on the general budget. But, given the politically charged nature of pension and compensation reforms, it's a difficult task.
The city is talking with all of its labor groups; many have agreed to open discussions with the city, although their contracts are not yet up for negotiations.
The city manager and department executives recently agreed to contribute 2.5% more of their share to the state pension system. The contribution is set to save the city $74,500 in the next two years.
Det. Kreg Muller, president of the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn., said his group agreed to continue to contribute 4.25% of the employees' share to the state pension for the next two years, in addition to taking on the anticipated increase in medical costs next year.
"We are happy that we're able to work with the city and get through these difficult economic times," Muller said. "Are we excited about the difficult economic times? No. But we're all getting through this."