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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009 5 years ago

City pares its overtime

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

A concerted effort to reduce the amount of overtime at City Hall has paid off, but even after paring more than $500,000 from its overtime costs, the city still paid $1.3 million in overtime this year.

City Manager Bob Bartolotta asked each department to reduce the amount of overtime, because he felt the city was paying too much of it.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the police department has the most overtime. Officers and detectives work 24 hours a day and are often called to duty after hours or to work special events. Officers are also called to testify in court. Any of the night-duty officers who have to go to court in the daytime incur overtime.

Last fiscal year, the police department paid its employees more than $783,000 in overtime. In the first 11 months of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, that figure has been reduced to just more than $570,000.

Capt. Bill Spitler, police spokesman, said the department has paid more attention to scheduling this year, which has helped lower overtime costs. One example he cites is that the department has adjusted schedules so that when officers are undergoing training, they incur the overtime during training sessions, instead of when they’re on their regular duty. Spitler said overtime during training is less costly.

Bill Hallisey, director of public works, also said much of the savings this year came from more efficient work scheduling. For example, last year, if a service call came in over the weekend, an overtime charge was automatically incurred, because employees weren’t scheduled to work weekends. This year, employees are assigned weekend duty as part of their regular shift.

“We’ve also reduced the number of workers in utility billing and scheduled more employees to work more during peak hours and less during (less busy times),” Hallisey said.

The city department with the second-largest overtime payout is water utilities. Last fiscal year, it had more than $753,000 in overtime costs. Year-to-date this fiscal year, it is down to about $545,000.

Water utilities incurs overtime because its employees respond to after-hours service calls, including waterline breaks, equipment failures and other unscheduled maintenance.

To see a chart listing the city's overtime breakdown, please click on the link below.

Overtime breakdown

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