A federal judge ruled Friday in favor of Salt Lake City in a suit brought against the city by firefighter captains who claimed the city was violating fair labor law by not paying them overtime.

Firefighter captains, who make an average of $52,000 yearly, including benefits, charged that the city owed them past overtime pay and a commitment for future overtime for work given over 40 hours per week.But U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins ruled that because the captains fulfill "executive" duties, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Salt Lake City does not owe them overtime compensation.

Any employee compensated at not less than $250 per week and whose primary duty includes the management of two or more employees is exempt from receiving overtime payments, Jenkins said, quoting federal labor law.

Salt Lake fire captains clearly were responsible for directing work of two or more employees and made 41 percent more than regular firefighters, who make an average of $37,000 yearly, Jenkins said in his 9-page ruling.

Assistant City Attorney Frank Nakamura was pleased with the ruling, saying retroactive and future overtime payments could have been costly for the city.

More important, Nakamura said, was that the city was not guilty of allegations it violated fair labor laws.