L.A. Controller Says City Needs to Improve Tracking Overtime Pay

 In blog, Crime – MyNewsLA.com

L.A. Controller Says City Needs to Improve Tracking Overtime Pay

by Contributing Editor

Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin Wednesday released a report on recent city employee pay trends, urging city departments to use data-driven solutions to scale back overtime pay.

The report, named “On the Clock: Review of City Employee Overtime,” focused on the city’s overtime spending for sworn and civilian employees, and it identifies the top earners by department and job classification, his office stated.

The report found that over the past five years, city employees have received more than $2 billion in overtime.

“Overtime is a critical tool to help the city serve Angelenos and protect communities from crime, emergencies and natural disasters,” Galperin said. “We see its importance first-hand each time the city deploys firefighters around the clock to combat wildfires, like the catastrophic Getty and Woolsey fires. Overtime is also vital for law enforcement to address immediate needs as they arise. But the city can and should do a better job monitoring rising costs and adopt a data-driven strategy to help track overtime hours across departments.”

Officials with the controller’s office said the objective of the report was to provide a broad scope of how the city’s overtime pay is trending.

During fiscal year 2019, 53% of city employees recorded 8.59 million overtime hours, a cost of $470 million. The city’s response to last year’s Woolsey fire triggered the highest overtime pay period that year. The controller’s report covers city employees in all departments except the Department of Water and Power, which uses a separate payroll system.

In his report, Galperin found that sworn Los Angeles Fire and Los Angeles Police department employees earned 77% of all overtime dollars, largely because their staffing models necessitate overtime.

Los Angeles also has had fewer firefighters and police officers per capita than other large U.S. cities, Galperin said. Other top overtime departments included Los Angeles World Airports, Department of Public Works (Sanitation and Street Services), Department of Transportation and Department of Building and Safety.

While overtime is mostly paid for by L.A. taxpayers, the city can get reimbursed by outside entities for overtime earned by employees assigned to work certain special events, like the L.A. Marathon and Dodgers games, and for disaster response in the wake of an emergency declaration, Galperin’s report said.

Although most overtime payments complied with existing policies and procedures, the city needs better oversight to prevent employee burnout and ensure the efficient use of public dollars, the report stated.

The controller’s provided overtime pay in the city by the numbers:

— 91% of sworn LAFD and LAPD personnel, and 40% of civilian and other employees earned overtime pay in the last fiscal year.

— 36% of sworn LAFD and LAPD employees, and 13% of civilians and other sworn employees (excluding LAFD and LAPD) earned more than 25% of their regular salary in overtime.

— Eighteen sworn LAFD employees each collected more than $200,000 in overtime, four of whom earned more than double the amount of their regular salary in overtime pay alone.

— Eleven civilian employees each made more than $100,000 in overtime, two of whom collected more than twice the amount of their normal base salary in overtime.

— One firefighter reported 5,616 hours of overtime, 64% of all hours in the year.

— One traffic officer reported 3,702 hours of overtime, 42% of all hours in the year.

Galperin said he recommends city departments and policymakers use available open data tools to monitor employee overtime more effectively, and analyze when it may be more appropriate to increase hiring to reduce overtime and employee fatigue.

He also said the city should require departments to track high overtime by individual employees and adopt policies to help decrease overtime costs. Other cities such as New York and San Francisco have put overtime pay limits in place, Galperin said.

>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!

All credit goes to Contributing Editor
Originally published on https://mynewsla.com

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search