The city has instituted an overtime freeze to cut back on non-essential overtime spending, according to documents it submitted to the state.
“No staff member is to work overtime without prior approval from their department head. Effective immediately, overtime hours are to be limited to essential employees needed in emergency situations,” read the city’s transitional aid application submitted to the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, who chairs the council’s finance committee, said some of the departments are at 70-percent of their overtime budget. In fact, just two months into the fiscal year, many departments had spent more than a quarter of their annual overtime budget, according to city records.
Morris said an overtime freeze many not generate much in savings.
Council members have repeatedly called on mayor Jose “Joey” Torres’ administration to curb its overtime spending. Many have criticized overtime use in the public works department. A small number of public works supervisors have been doubling their salaries through overtime, according to city records.
“If an employee is found to have worked unauthorized overtime hours, that employee may receive disciplinary action up to and including termination,” reads the document sent to the state.
The overtime freeze comes as the city grapples with a massive $26 million budget deficit even after calculating in a $25 million state aid figure into the municipal budget. The city has requested $38.4 million in transitional aid to balance its budget.