A number of city public works employees have been doubling their salaries through overtime earning, according to city records.
Six public work employees doubled their salaries by earning overtime in fiscal year 2014, according to city records. In fiscal year 2015, five public works employees doubled their earnings through overtime, according to city payroll data.
Fiscal year 2014
Robert Statuto, George Magzanian, William Rodriguez, Michael Acey, Pascual Nieves, Timothy Hanlon all doubled their salaries in fiscal year 2014.
Statuto’s salary was $53,802 and his overtime was $65,615 for that year, according to city records. Magzanian’s salary was $52,240 and he earned $52,755, according to records.
Rodriguez’s salary was $45,041 and he earned $51,725 in overtime.
There were others who did not pass the threshold to double their salaries, but came extremely close. Joseph Mania, whose salary was $74,073, earned $63,998 in overtime in fiscal year 2014.
Steve Howe collected $58,725 in overtime on a $84,176 salary in fiscal year 2014, according to city records.
Fiscal year 2015
The next year – fiscal year 2015 — some of the same employees doubled their salaries: Magzanian, Rodriguez, and Hanlon.
Statuto took in $45,881 in overtime. Mania earned $70,593 in overtime. And Michael G. Jackson, whose salary stood at $28,019, doubled his salary by earning $28,136 in overtime. Evelyn Deaveareaux, whose salary was $27,030, took in $27,510 in overtime, according to city records.
Statuto and Mania are the biggest overtime earners. In fact, a battle can be observed between the two public works supervisors as to who comes up first when overtime earning data is sorted by largest to smallest.
Fiscal year 2016
So far this – fiscal year 2016 — which began on July 1st, 2015, three employees — Mania, Rodriguez, and Magzanian — have already earned roughly $10,000 in overtime each, according to city payroll data.
“Clearly, overtime has to be managed and somebody has to be in charge of looking at it,” said council president William McKoy. He said that person would analyze the data and determine whether the city needs additional staff to curb overtime.
McKoy said mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration has indicated it is looking at the data and plans to address the public works overtime issue.
Public works director Manuel Ojeda did not respond to a call for comment.
“I don’t see the reason why someone should earn as much in overtime as their regular salary,” said McKoy. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”
McKoy said to get to the root of it the city has to look at why the overtime is being incurred and whether there’s a better way to schedule work so as to diminish it.
Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman, called for an investigation to figure out where the overtime is being spent.
“We need the council president to create a committee of the whole at the very least so we can receive answers as to why all of this overtime is necessary,” said Sayegh. “We need answers. We need an explanation.”
An analysis that was conducted by 5th Ward councilman Julio Tavarez reckoned public works overtime has been steadily rising as public safety slightly pulled back. He found a 13-percent spike in overtime spending in public works from fiscal year 2012 through 2013.
“Is it legitimate overtime?” asked Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large. “I’d need to know what the task was, why these individuals were repeatedly getting overtime — is it because they have a certain skill set? Is it because supervisors have to be there to supervise?”
The city may obtain greater value by hiring additional staff if it’s paying out this much in overtime, said Morris. He suggested a “lapse in efficiency” is the likely culprit for the overtime.
Morris said the council may not have the authority to control overtime expenditures. Morris pointed out the last time the council refused to pay employee overtime, the city’s police union sued forcing the municipality to pay up.
“The only thing we can do is ask the administration to do a better job in controlling overtime which we have done,” said Morris.