Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward kept it short and not-so-sweet to the city’s managers in a memo Monday: No overtime.
Here’s the full text of what he headlined as a “Mayoral Directive”:
Effective immediately, ABSOLUTELY NO NON-EMERGENCY OVERTIME is to be authorized without the express consent of the Mayor.
In addition, ABSOLUTELY NO OVERTIME IS TO BE GENERATED WITHIN THE 2011 SIDEWALK PROGRAM.
(The capital letters were in the memo.)
The city and its taxpayers spend a lot of money on overtime and related issues. Here’s what the 2011 city budget sets aside for overtime by department:
- Mayor: $0;
- Treasurer’s office: $600;
- Assessment office: $0;
- Clerk’s office: $500;
- Law office: $0;
- Personnel office: $1,000;
- Engineer’s office: $1,500;
- Public Works: $14,000;
- Building Operations: $6,000;
- Traffic Control: $6,000;
- Police Department:
- Overtime: $351,000;
- Sick time sell back: $0;
- Shift differential: $17,000;
- Out of grade pay: $4,700;
- Holiday pay: $92,441;
- Fire Department:
- Overtime: $330,000;
- Out of grade pay: $7,682;
- Time due pay: $131,000;
- Holiday pay: $106,299.
Police and fire overtime is often dictated by the city’s contract with its unions and will fall outside the Mayor’s no-overtime order. The fire department has a contractual minimum of 8 firefighters on duty at all times, for example.
Some of the police department’s overtime is funded by grants for targeted activities such as DWI checkpoints and illegal alcohol sales stings.
But all overtime imposes a second and third cost on taxpayers. Extra pay means an extra contribution to the state worker retirement funds, which this year will add at least 16% to each dollar spent on payroll.
And higher pay through overtime, if it’s sustained over a period of time, can lead to a higher pension when a worker retires. The state is investigating whether there were special practices for funneling overtime to members of the police or fire department who were close to retirement, in order to boost their pensions.
Woodward said that the city’s union leaders have been working with him to find ways to cut down on overtime.
He and members of the Common Council said they did not understand how the city’s sidewalk construction program could have created overtime.
Each summer, city workers repair and replace sidewalks around the city.
Woodward said that he was told that workers worked overtime because there were not enough wooden forms into which the concrete is poured. So they would pour concrete late in the day and wait for it to set before leaving it for the night.
Woodward scoffed at the explanation, saying that there was money available to buy the wood needed for the forms, and that no one told him about it at the time.
He warned the members of the Common Council that he told the Public Works department “there’s gonna be no overtime on sidewalks this year, or there won’t be sidewalks done next year. If we have to, we’ll do less sidewalks.”