City pares its overtime

 

City pares its overtime

 

Date: August 27, 2009
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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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • The article about the City pares its overtime left out one important item - COMP TIME. This relates to salaried employees that do not receive monetary compensation for working overtime. If during the 40 hour work week, if the employee works overtime, for every hour they work they earn one hour of paid time off. So when top administration and management go to City Commission meetings, sit there for hours until their time comes up, they are racking up comp-time hours.
    It would be interesting to see how many employees racked up comp time hours for this past fiscal year. Even the CITY MANAGER EARNS COMP TIME even though he gets paid dearly. This still costs the taxpayers money because the employee gets paid time off. As a past city worker, I found the chart of overtime breakdown quit interesting, because when I was working in the Planning Department, which is now under Neighborhood and development services, Department heads, Deputy Director, Chief Planners, ALL PLANNERS and the now Budget Coordinator raked up all sorts of COMP TIME HOURS. You were allowed to have 80 hours on the books. If you used 20 hours, then you could earn another 20 hours. Also, you could roll over the 80 hours from one year to the next year to use. Unless you truly understand the COMP TIME PROGRAM, it is hard to explain, but this is still OVERTIME - PAID TIME OFF, it is just not money you receive at time and a half or double time in your weekly pay check.
    Funny how the City can mislead the public to think that they actually reduced overtime when they left this FACTOR out of the equation unless they have STOPPED the comp time program.
    It would be interesting to know how many comp time hours, which is public record the City Auditor and Clerk and some of his staff have earned on the books and others like: Tim Litchet, Mike Taylor, and a whole bunch of salaried people in that department; Kurt and Linda from HR, the Chief and Sr. Planners, the City Manager and his staff, etc. etc. This is all PUBLIC RECORD and can easily be reported by the Human Resource Department. It the person writting the article did not know about the comp time program, do you really think that the City Manager would have included this FINANCIAL FACTOR in his article. OF COURSE NOT - REMEMBER, HE IS THE MYSTERY MAN.
    Plus, what about the bonus days and the Run/Walk/Swim days. What I will say is that yes, they have reduced the actual overtime - time and a half that the union workers would get for working more than 40 hours a week because they have shifted staff, forced people to work on weekends and take weekdays off, and basically reduced the level of service being provided to the taxpayers. Plus, some of these departments, such as Central Stores, if it is not done today, it can wait until tomorrow. Also, during my days, there was no true control on payroll, at least in the department I worked. Staff was allowed to work through lunch, yet work on personal work, not city work, and then log it as comp time. One employee had racked up about 160 hours of comp time so they could go on very very long summer vacations. Wonder if that person is still allowed to do that. As far as I am concerned - COMP TIME IS OVERTIME so this article is not truly a reflection in cost reductions - just the reduction in TRUE OVERTIME which is the time and a half or double time being paid to employees. I think that more research should be done on this subject? I think this was a way for the City Manager to rebound after the "Mystery Man" article.
  •  
  • lisa arcabella
    Sat 29th Aug 2009
    at 9:27pm
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