Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Department of Public Administration

First Advisor

Dr. A. Frempong


The objective of this degree paper is to examine the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, as amended. The recent Supreme Court decision in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority has not only disallowed the use of compensatory time, it has also resulted in an extension of the FLSA to include almost all federal, state and local employees. Included among this group are public safety personnel (police and fire) who, due to the nature of their occupations, account for a great deal of overtime hours. The use of compensatory time has by far been the preferred system of compensation as it relates to overtime. The opposition speculated that the extension would result in higher costs, work schedule changes, reclassification of jobs and, perhaps most feared, an increase in taxes. City officials openly voiced their opposition and, as a result, a Congressional amendment was passed to ease the burden of compliance. Nevertheless, most affected jurisdictions, including the City of Atlanta, have been forced to make administrative changes. These changes include, among others, a new record keeping system, revised work schedules and a strict review of overtime privileges. The findings demonstrate that these actions can substantially reduce the severity with which the FLSA is felt. Under certain circumstances, such as those which exist in the City of Atlanta, the extension of the FLSA can be an advantageous mechanism resulting in more efficient management practices. Of course, for other municipalities this may not be the case. The primary sources of information for the degree paper are interview sessions with selected City of Atlanta officials and state and federal documents including the Act itself. Secondary sources include numerous interpretative guidelines of the FLSA and its provisions and books and periodicals on the issue. For the analytical portion of the issue, the social cost-benefit analysis technique is employed. The City of Atlanta firefighters are used for comparative purposes following a detailed examination of the Act itself and relevant legislation. Because the City of Atlanta has only recently made administrative changes in compliance with the law, conclusions are difficult to draw. The degree paper, however, concludes with a number of recommendations and their applicability to the noted jurisdiction.