Councilman Kenneth Morris introduced two resolutions on Tuesday evening to control overtime expenses and review expensive new hires so as to keep an eye on municipal spending that many have said has increased under mayor Jose “Joey” Torres resulting in a series of battles between the governing body and the mayor.
Morris’ first piece of legislation will require the council to approve overtime expenses when a division or department’s overtime reaches 65-percent of its overtime allotment.
His second measure requires the city to obtain approval from the council’s finance committee when hiring a non-essential employee whose salary is over $30,000 and is not reflected in the city’s budget.
“I think it will resolve many back and forth tug of war between the administration and the council,” said Michael Jackson, 1st Ward councilman.
The resolutions have broad support among council members.
There’s a select few employees in the public works department who are doubling their salaries through overtime, said Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward councilman.
“Those costs must be reined in,” said Sayegh expressing support for the resolutions. Morris said once overtime reaches that 65-percent threshold the council needs to take a proactive stance.
“We’re serious about addressing this issue,” said Morris about overtime and new hires.
Julio Tavarez, 5th Ward councilman, said the mayor made a number of political hires, that are costing taxpayers.
Both measures will be up for vote next Tuesday.