New York City outdid itself in overtime payments last year, spending approximately $1.9 billion. According to a NY Post report Saturday, the payment represents a 4.3 percent increase from 2015. Citing findings by government watchdog Empire Center for Public Policy, the Post said that 10 to 23 percent of the payroll of most NYC agencies last year consisted of overtime payment. In a related report this month, NBC New York found that over 300 NYC employees had boosted their annual salary through overtime pay, according to a See Through New York report cited by NBC NY.
The surge in overtime payment was commented on by Tim Hoefer, the executive director of the Empire Center for Public Policy.
“When overtime is 20 percent, or even 10 percent of total pay, that’s certainly alarming,” Hoefer told the NY Post. “Budgeting for some overtime is proper financial management, but as these numbers continue to climb, it’s more important that we scrutinize those management practices.”
Ranking agencies which paid the most in overtime, the Post found that the Board of Elections paid $8.9 million in FY 2017. The BOE followed the Department of Corrections, which paid $278 million in overtime. In its report on overtime payments, NBC New York noted that workers in the DoC made up almost half of the NYC employees who earned more in 2017 through overtime than through their base pay. According to the NY Post, most Department of Correction employees benefitting from the overtime were maintenance workers, rather than corrections officers.
The Department of Corrections overtime payments were criticized as a sign of “persistent dysfunction” and “gross mismanagement” by Queens City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, according to the NY Post. Crowley noted that “while employees made up to six figures in overtime, jail violence continued to spiral out of control.”
As for the other agencies, the NY Post report found that the FDNY paid $345.5 million in overtime for its employees last year, while the NYPD came in at the top of the list with a staggering $767 million.
The Department of Sanitation also paid a significant 131.4 million in overtime last year, though this was attributed largely to inclement weather, according to a DoS spokesman cited by the New York Post.
“The department incurred extensive overtime this winter as our workers fought snow and ice storms,” the spokesman, Vito Turso, told the news outlet, adding that “the eventual challenge of catching up with the tens of thousands of tons of trash and recycling that went uncollected.”
By: Asher Schlesinger