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Paterson overtime spending spikes 40-percent on mayor Sayegh’s watch | Paterson Times

Paterson overtime spending spikes 40-percent on mayor Sayegh’s watch

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Overtime spending in the city jumped by 40-percent during mayor Andre Sayegh’s first year in office, according to municipal records.

Records show overtime spending jumped from $3.66 million to $5.11 million in fiscal 2018-19. Sayegh, who is out of the country on vacation until Monday, rationalized the largest amount in overtime spending since 2015.

Sayegh claimed skyrocketing overtime spending was part of his administration’s fiscal strategy.

“We understood that overtime would increase in order for the city to cover basic services,” Sayegh said last week to the Paterson Press which first reported the overtime spending increase. “In short, it cost the city less to pay the overtime than to hire full-time employees with benefits.”

Sayegh’s explanation appeared laughable to City Council members. Residents and developers have been complaining about lack of services. Sayegh’s social media page has been flooded by reports of residents complaining about lack of regular recycling pick up.

Data shows the same employees, who collected large sums in overtime before the city began to reign in overtime spending four years ago, were the biggest beneficiaries, suggesting a breakdown in monitoring of overtime expenditures.

The top three overtime earners were public works supervisors Robert Statuto, Luis Guzman, and police officer Christopher Palomino.

Statuto’s overtime of $66,776 was more than his salary of $59,400, according to municipal records. Guzman received $60,290 and Palomino got $49,225 in overtime, according to records.

All three of them earned more than the mayor through overtime.

“I don’t know how that’s by design,” said councilman Flavio Rivera, chairman of the finance committee.

Sayegh didn’t always think exploding overtime was a fiscal strategy.

“I believe the overtime expenditure is exorbitant,” said Sayegh in 2015, when overtime jumped by 17-percent under former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’s administration.

On Tuesday afternoon, Sayegh’s business administrator Vaughn McKoy issued a directive to all departments to reign in overtime spending.

“We will examine overtime monthly and hold each department accountable, so plan and manage your overtime accordingly. Failure to adhere to this procedure will result in disciplinary action against managers and supervisors,” said McKoy’s directive.

Rivera said the directive contradicts the mayor’s claim that overtime spending increased by design.

“There was no plan,” said Rivera. “If there’s a plan how come the business administrator sent out a memo?”

Overtime is often abused. For example, three public works supervisors, who were big overtime earners, and ex-mayor Torres, were convicted two years ago for overtime fraud.

Sayegh’s failure to control overtime has undone four years of work by council members, lead by former councilman Julio Tavarez, who forced the previous administration to get a grip on overtime spending by demanding quarterly reports.

Email: jay@patersontimes.com

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  • John Brown

    raise your taxes and spends your money and you get nothing for it!
    not even basic services. yeah. that's right Re-Elect this POS!

  • bigron

    I think most people already wrote this fool off. It was a mistake to elect him. Now, either we have to recall this urine and feces soaked falafel or wait three more years to throw him out of office.

  • DENNIS CHAMBERS

    This Mayor is just another politician (corrupted ) to come along and STEAL MONEY FROM PATERSON WEAK AND IMMIGRATED LEADERSHIP. PLEASE BRING BACK MAYOR JEFF JONES! THESE IMMIGRANTS HAVE BANKROLL PATERSON FOR DECADES.SEND IN "ICE"
    NOW!

    • Juan Velez

      Jeff jones was trash im sorry he did nothing we need an ild school mayor like graves again but jeff wow thays funny

  • firebird

    the discontent is sure mushrooming…& little surprise at the results. & that first lady with the life-is-so-pristine….*eye roll*

  • Juan Velez

    This clown rivera has no clue what goes on there is overtime because with the equipment being broken with no money to fix and no man power guys have to stay to getbthe job done and this clown talking bout privatizing dpw i challenge that clown to come down and get on a truck and try to do the work we do without ot ill retire before ass clown accepts the challenge . Tues we need to all show up at city hall and we need to put voices to those ears that sit there and pass judgement without knowing a damn thing about what we have to do to satisfy the residents of Paterson

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