City’s overtime budget has been fully expended with four months to go before the end of this fiscal year, according to an overtime report released Tuesday evening. The city has so far spent $4 million in overtime exceeding its fiscal year 2015 overtime budget by 5-percent.
Much of the overtime spending is concentrated in public safety: the fire department has exceeded its overtime budget by a whopping 182-percent while police is at 101-percent, according to the report.
The third largest overtime hog is public works which is at 100-percent having spent $1 million in overtime to date.
“We’ve got four months left until the end of this fiscal year and those areas that are over 100-percent over budget are a little concerning,” said Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. Morris sought an explanation on why fire was spending more in overtime than it was budgeted for.
Morris cited the recent hiring of firefighters that should have reduced overtime spending rather than increase it. He further added that the overtime increase could be due to the large number of fires the city has been experiencing.
Fire expended $431,515 in overtime though it was budgeted for $236,840, according to the report. Police spent $2.16 million in overtime exceeding a budget of $2.14 million. Despite being the department with the most overtime, the city’s police have reigned in overtime, according to city officials.
“It’s a lot better than where they were last year,” said Morris about police overtime. Business administrator Nellie Pou said the city will be nowhere near last year’s $3 million in police overtime spending.
Pou said police director Jerry Speziale has implemented policies and procedures to reduce overtime.
Morris suggested the city provide incentives to departments that remain within their overtime budgets. He said it makes sense to reward departments that cut back on overtime spending. Morris suggested giving bonuses to employees at the end of the year.
Pou said the city has a firm handle on the overtime expenditures. She cited the reduced police overtime, saying, “This is moving in the right direction.”
At this rate the city is likely to incur an additional $2 million in overtime over the course of the next four months.