Estimated Overtime Pay in 2012
• City of Lawrence: $2.37 million
• Douglas County: $752,000
• Lawrence Public Schools: $195,000
*School data is for 2011-12 school year. All numbers are approximate.
Local government employees clocked more than $3 million in overtime wages last year, including one Lawrence police detective who made $40,000 above his regular salary, according to records from Douglas County, the city of Lawrence and the Lawrence school district.
The city’s overtime payments jumped about 32 percent from the previous two years, to $2.37 million from about $1.8 million in 2010 and 2011. The 2012 overtime numbers were similar to the 2011 and 2010 figures for Lawrence schools and county employees.
Much of the city’s increase is attributed to a rise in overtime wages for fire and law enforcement personnel, said David Corliss, city of Lawrence manager.
Corliss said keeping overtime costs down is something the city examines every year, along with other cost and salary information. “We look at all those numbers,” Corliss said, adding that part of the issue has been hiring enough new fire and police personnel, something the city is in the process of doing.
Four of the top five highest overtime earners in the city in 2012 were police detectives, who made an additional $28,000 to $40,000 each in overtime pay. Police officers made about $840,000 in overtime wages in 2012, compared to about $523,000 in 2011, and $450,000 in 2010.
“It’s the nature of the business,” Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib said. “Police work doesn’t follow a straight schedule.”
Khatib said officers are often required to stay past regular shifts, or to come to court hearings on days off. Some of the numbers for the higher-earning officers are related to large-scale criminal investigations, such as the June arrest of eight Lawrence residents as part of a federal case, he said.
That makes the numbers somewhat deceiving, Khatib said, because much of the overtime paid to officers was for assisting federal authorities, and some of that funding will be reimbursed by the federal government.
The top overtime earners at the county level were either law enforcement personnel or public works employees.
Again, some higher overtime numbers come down to the nature of such work, said Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug. For instance, county personnel are often required to work extra hours during critical times, such as during the recent snow storm, or fixing public utilities after hours.
The overtime numbers, however, are closely watched, and Weinaug said there have been times when overtime usage has been questioned and examined by county personnel.
- Click here for a full database of city, county and school employee wages.