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Archive for Saturday, February 23, 2013

Local government employees racked up more than $3 million in overtime in 2012

February 23, 2013

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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.

Google form

Overtime wages 2010-12

Overtime wages for Douglas County, city of Lawrence, and Lawrence Public School employees. Numbers are approximate and rounded.

Google form

Top governmental overtime earners

A list of the top-20 local governmental overtime earners.

Comments

jackpot 1 year, 9 months ago

The charts override the text, can't read all the story.

Bigdog66046 1 year, 9 months ago

this is an interesting story, BUT i totally believe the paper should NOT have published the names of the people and their pay. None of that is the public's business to know how much and who made the $$. Simply listed as LPD detective 40,000 would have been enough. Your worried about potential sex offender identification but not hard working city employees privacy?? POOR PRACTICES AGAIN BY LJWORLD

Paul Wilson 1 year, 9 months ago

It's called having consideration for others. Yes it is public info...you're right KR. But as a simple courtesy, it should be something that the public must pursue to obtain. They could have made their points without individual names. It's a simple case of the paper putting their minor agenda over the feelings and lives of others. But...self-centered and selfish are the ways of modern liberals...we should expect it.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

Pork_Ribs, it was not the modern liberals who put this data out here. Several years back, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law decreeing that this information should be put on the internet. If you think the public should have to request the salary information of specific individuals, you will need to contact your legislators about changing the law. I don't think you will find much support for it, though. If they try to make that information harder to get, they will be accused of reducing information available to the citizens about their government.

The thing I think is dangerous about this is that it provides people with less-than-honorable motives information they can use to target specific individuals who are likely to have money or material goods. I think this opens our public servants to dangers from scammers, thieves, harassers, and the like who can use these online databases to decide who their next victims might be.

Bigdog66046 1 year, 9 months ago

its one thing for the information to be public. Totally another for the paper to print their names and pay!

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm not sure how. Once the State puts the names and pay on its website, that genie was out of the bottle.

Kat Christian 1 year, 9 months ago

Yet you are forbidden to discuss salary with your co-workers. Mmmmm go figure.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

I very much doubt that any public employee has such a prohibition. My father taught me, though, that polite people simply don't discuss how much money they make.

flloyd 1 year, 9 months ago

The public pays their salaries so why shouldn't they be made public?

GREAT JOB LJWORLD. Let's see a posting of all government employee salaries in Douglas County, please.

Joe Hyde 1 year, 9 months ago

Another way of looking at the name list: It identifies the folks we should all thank for working 12-to-16 hour days protecting us from the crazy bastards who were burglarizing homes all over Lawrence while the owners lay sleeping; and who did everything possible to find and stop an arsonist who, with one light of the match, could have murdered dozens of people in apartment fires.

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

Another way of looking at the name list is there is a shortage of police officers and strait time always saves payroll....So hire some more police officers or ask for volunteers...I am sure there are retired police officials willing to step up to some part time work. The overtime is ridiculous......more low rate paying blue collar folks...are restricted from working overtime....just ask them. And if you think this is alot....look up the KU Professor's...there in the $300.000's.....

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

And, if these blue collar folks don't get their job done....then they are written up and sometimes dismissed behind it, so they can hire some lower paying employee. The accountants aren't performing then necessary auditing about why there is so much overtime and the Captains are ignoring it too. They should be held accountable for much of the problem of excessive overtime in their Precincts.

boltzmann 1 year, 9 months ago

Actually, hiring more people on "straight time" does not necessarily save money, as hiring new people always has an overhead attached to it - i.e. benefits. Only if the extra overtime exceeds the overhead costs of a new hire, does hiring more "straight-time" employees.

It also depends upon how often overtime is required and how the load is distributed in time. If you base your hiring numbers to minimize overtime - you might end up with extra people who have little to do during times when the load is less. Balancing typical capacity with "surge" capacity is one of the problems that affect all employers.

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

That why you only hire part-time under 30 hours( if you read my first statement correctly)...you avoid the over-time and the benefits and can use people on Call Out basis, as needed. Hiring additional work force....you Don't need to hire full time workers!! Excessive over-time just allows more pension benefits to accure to the overtime workers and that cost companies even more retirement pay-out money, including the additional payroll of double time, triple time, meal allowance etc....always better to hire extra work force at straight time under 30 hours!! This is over time excessive abuse and requires auditing and its being ignored obiviously. There are many retired police officers/detectives willing to work, but no one is asking!!

Also, a 12-14 hour policeman/detective isn't a safe vehicle for anyone, bad guy or good guy...how's your judgement after a 14-16 hour day?? Safety for others..... risking innocent people are a huge factor here!!

Kontum1972 1 year, 9 months ago

u left out the free basketball tickets ...and football....

colicole81 1 year, 9 months ago

The name and income of every public employee is public. It can be accessed at any time by anyone with a computer. My husband, as a city employee is among those listed. It is absolutely the right of the public to have this knowledge because these employees work for us and are paid by us. Simply listing that a LPD detective made $40,000 would not have accurately described the gross amount of overtime being used by LPD. The chart is an important aspect of the story. Thank you ljworld.

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

Ask that next policeman you see sitting in his car.........talking to the other policeman at that donut shop......lmao )>

colicole81 1 year, 9 months ago

If you would look at the chart you would see it's not $40,000 being used by LPD it's actually $304,028. That is enough over time pay to hire 7+ new officers! I would say that we absolutely did not.

SilenceDogood 1 year, 9 months ago

Government employee salaries are paid by taxpayers, and, as such, the taxpayers have a right to know exactly how much each employee is paid. As a state employee (I work for KU) having a salary that is public record is part of the deal I agreed to when I accepted my position.

I do wish the writer would have spent more time researching WHY the overtime was deemed necessary and what, if anything, was being done to address it in the future. In particular with the detectives... with three detectives that have a combined total in overtime of $110,000 it makes me wonder if it wouldn't be better (from both a cost-of-labor and quality perspective) to hire another detective.

kansasredlegs 1 year, 9 months ago

The interesting thing about the article which is not mentioned is the fact some of those named are close to retirement or have recently retired. KP&F averages the last 3 years pay (including overtime), for retirement pay purposes and as a result some will get as much or more than their regular "normal" pay. Working the retirement'system' overtime angle has been a police department staple for years. As for federal reimbursement by the Feds, will the LJWorld print some of those reimbursement checks for all to see?

somebodynew 1 year, 9 months ago

redlegs - at one time you were correct. The KPF has changed that system and no longer counts the overtime as part of that equation.

What I find interesting is that both the FD and the SO allow their Supervisors to collect overtime. The PD does not and hasn't for some years.

Al Deathe 1 year, 9 months ago

The benefits you refer to were changed in 1993. Those officers hired prior to 1993 still receive those benefits when they retire.

Anthony Mall 1 year, 9 months ago

It's the cost of doing business... Crimes occur, case loads build up, pressure from people to solve the cases (burglary last year was a big one), car accidents, fires etc etc... Here come the ticket jokes(for some reason some people can't come up with any new material), complaining about money issues, and overall whining that people are so good at here...

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

It is that necessary to print this matter. I would suggest that this overtime is necessary and not to get all that upset because a ton of details are missing.

How long do taxpayers want water main leaks to run before repairing them? Police officers have work to do once their on street patrol shift is done..... paper work that we citizens generate for them to sort.

Citizens are demanding about snow removal. Natural melting is not good enough.

Perhaps talk about issues with officers coming on duty? Things like very busy party houses, traffic at a known meth lab operations,robberies, domestic violence situations that may need to be watched, rapes etc etc etc etc. It is important that this information and details be exchanged.

One way to avoid overtime pay? Move to the salary option. BUT then some of these salaries will need a sweet increase to avoid having workers feeling abused.

WE must also assume some of these over time hours would have been quickly traded for off time if given the option.

What the city does not need is city commissioners coming and micro managing the city budget and number of staff. City Commissioners have no idea what the city needs and when the services are needed. Sometimes it appears more workers are on a job than necessary BUT remember there are major safety issues on most labor projects than we know about.

There is a lot of work that needs to get done and most often city workers can get it done best and for less.

Hire back city workers it's best for the local economy!!!! City workers provide the best bang for the tax buck!

Keith 1 year, 9 months ago

You're quite right about that, but the question is how do we get that change? I don't think there's any way to force the issue from the electorate, but I'd be happy to find I'm wrong about that.

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

The tell your Captain to hire more police officers, for the overtime is way out of line...and please make sure they are part-time, so you can send them home when they are done...for parades, carnivals, candlelight vigils, protests, funerals or when some big shot is in town... this should be common sense, Obviously he does have any............which is even more scary!!! The overtime should be audited more closely......someone is acting like Stevie Wonder. Geez!

avarom 1 year, 9 months ago

meant to say Does Not have any common sense.....I was overlapping when I wrote this.

Currahee 1 year, 9 months ago

40K above regular salary? 20K??? Don't you think that's a little bit excessive?

Paul Wilson 1 year, 9 months ago

If they earned it and completed work that you found exceptional or even acceptable...why is it excessive?

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

If it were excessive it would have been circumvented and eliminated. We folks don't have enough information to be experts on this matter. There is NOT enough information available in the Journal World.

Candle light vigils are not a budget item. They are supported with volunteers.

AS I whipped thorough the salary $$$$$ numbers the most outstanding result is that a ton of workers are grossly under paid and appear to be eligible for food stamps and a medical card.

joes_donuts 1 year, 9 months ago

Merrill, not having enough information has never stopped you from replying before.

Dave Trabert 1 year, 9 months ago

The database seems to includes everyone who received a pay check, many of whom only work a partial year or part time...that probably accounts for a lot of the low numbers you saw.

Cwriter 1 year, 9 months ago

Merrill that's the truth! Looking through the list by job titles, it appears a good deal of labor "blue collar" jobs and the High-end "white-collar" jobs are paid over and above the office staff.

werekoala 1 year, 9 months ago

Taken by themselves, the numbers grab headlines,but they don't tell us much. $20,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it probably represents an extra thousand hours or more that the employee worked that year.

So in that respect, it's generally cheaper to pay that OT than hiring another employee to work those thousand hours. The better question to ask (which doesn't grab as many headlines) is whether or not those OT expenses are justified. Was that individual, or their skill set really needed? Do we need to increase staffing at the police/fire department? What safeguards are in place to assure that no one is "milking" the system?

I know there are some who won't be happy until public employees are required to work unlimited hours for minimum wage. But for the rest of us, I think we should be more focused on finding out what factors led to OT costs in 2012 being one sixth above the average for the last few years than a specific employee's specific numbers.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

werekoala, I agree generally with your second paragraph. However, those are questions for management--I'm not certain this article has a lot of value to the public. I also think that you're giving "some" too much credit...I think there are "some" who don't believe that public employees should be paid minimum wage. Of course, if an employee is required to work unlimited hours but is paid only minimum wage for the first 40 in a week...well, that person isn't paid minimum wage, anyway.

Joe Hyde 1 year, 9 months ago

That $3 million is money well spent, in view of the unprecedented twin threats of multiple home invasion burglaries simultaneous with multiple arson attacks on occupied apartment buildings. Absent those two public safety emergencies the overtime amount doubtless would have been much less.

akt2 1 year, 9 months ago

How do salaried postions accrue overtime?

irvan moore 1 year, 9 months ago

wouldn't you rather have a cop or fireman and not need him than need a cop or fireman and not have one

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 9 months ago

NUGENT, ROBERT A $86,845 $0 PUBLIC TRANSIT ADMINISTRATOR ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Lots of money for someone to watch tax dollars going to waste!

Astrunk 1 year, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

cowboy 1 year, 9 months ago

any organization paying this level of ot is in need of new management !

tomatogrower 1 year, 9 months ago

The city has been cutting back employees by attrition for quite awhile, but we expect them to do the same job that they have always done with fewer people. Perhaps this indicates that they need to hire more people again, but that would really gripe you conservatives. They might want to pay them a decent wage and you'd have to compete for workers. God forbid we pay workers enough to live on.

cowboy 1 year, 9 months ago

Anyone with labor management experience knows that a small bit of ot is productive. Continual use of ot and the returns diminish very quickly. Matters not what the work product is. If your manning level is insufficient to handle the load you need to increase it. Its not fair to the company / taxpayer nor is it fair to the employee to load them up like that. I can imagine that detective that knocked down 40k in OT ignored his personal life significantly. This also opens up the opportunity for abuse which i'd bet is present in some of these cases.

Dave Trabert 1 year, 9 months ago

Hanson's pay of $121k includes overtime, although it appears that the $107k listed for Sean Brown does not include the $33,000 in Overtime. We (Kansas Policy Institute) have similar listings of total pay and overtime for cities and counties at http://www.kansasopengov.org/LocalGovt/tabid/2140/Default.aspx, school districts at http://www.kansasopengov.org/SchoolDistricts/PayrollListing/tabid/1592/Default.aspx and state of Kansas at http://www.kansasopengov.org/StateGovt/PayListings/tabid/792/Default.aspx

The file we received from the City of Lawrence says Sean Brown's total pay was $133,989 including $27,919 in overtime.

We also requested any allowance for cell phones and cars to be included in total compensation.

FYI, overtime for non-regents state employees in 2011 totaled $10.3 million...which might put some perspective on the amount spent in Lawrence County.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

So, Dave, what do you make? We'd also like a list of your benefits to be included so we can see your total compensation.

Give us what your job requirements are as well so we can be certain that the Koch brothers are not having their money squandered by an employee who is just milking the system.

The Kochs don't like it when people waste their money. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/02/koch-brothers-want-know-why-their-money-was-wasted/62331/

pittstatebb 1 year, 9 months ago

Please reread what you wrote. I would argue (successfylly I hope) that every private sector employee is indeed paid by taxpayer money.

Now, before you blow a gasket, remember you did not say tax money. You said taxpayer money. If you do not see the difference, then please remember that the private employee is paid by their employer whose income is generated through selling goods or services. Now who do you think buys those goods or services? Could it be "taxpayers", which I would argue every adult either pays directly or indirectly.

Of course, I understand what you are saying and agree with it. But as one of those "leeches" on society who is paid through tax money, it does rub me the wrong way when people use taxpayer money (which is essentially all money in circulation) instead of tax money.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Most certainly if that employee's job is designed to sway public opinion on the use of taxpayer money.

I also find it very hypocritical of KPI to refuse to disclose where their funding comes from but demands that all others be open as a book.

Notice that Dave has not responded and will not respond. He is not interested in participating in the transparency he demands from others.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

Katara, I don't really think that's appropriate, do you? You have no right to that information, and you certainly don't have the right to judge whether or not he is squandering his employer's money. That is the sole right of his employer.

boltzmann 1 year, 9 months ago

Given that his job is to lobby the legislature and affect how tax dollars are spent, it might be useful to know how much he is paid to do so, for transparency.

Katara 1 year, 9 months ago

Exactly. If it is appropriate to publish every public employee's salary and benefits because it is tax money that is spent for those things then it is entirely appropriate to publish the salary of any employee whose job is to lobby our government in regards to how our tax monies are spent (or not spent).

Any organization whose main "argument" for tracking every public employee's salary and benefits is transparency better damn well be transparent themselves.

Of course, we all know that Dave and KPI are not concerned with hypocrisy. Heaven forbid that they apply the same standards to themselves that they demand of everyone else.

Additionally, public employees are tax payers too. They are deserving of the same rights and privileges that private employees are entitled too.

Dan Eyler 1 year, 9 months ago

Hi Dave, thanks for these links. You are providing very good information. I will certainly visit the Kansas Policy Institute website more often. I especially appreciate the school spending breakdown. Listening to all the debate about lack of school funding and then comparing that to the data on your website it seems pretty clear to me that the story is a bit twisted. Funding for education is nearly at an all time high. Thanks again.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 9 months ago

How does an engineer get that much OT?

Curveball 1 year, 9 months ago

I noticed the story did not address KU classified employees. Most of the time they don't get overtime unless another department is paying it. They just get laid off before the end of the week so they don't go over the 40 hour limit or in some cases, laid off before the anticipated overtime comes up.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 9 months ago

Having reviewed these comments, I am convinced of this. If I were a public employee, I would never claim any overtime hours I had to work. I conclude from many of these comments, and similar comments I have seen on other Kansas news websites, that it would only open me to criticism and scorn.

Food_for_Thought 1 year, 9 months ago

Last I read on Lawrence PD's website, Chief Khatib was pushing for more officers AND civilian employees...close to 3 dozen, if I remember correctly. The decision to hire more sworn and non-sworn police personnel lies with the City Manager and City Commission, NOT the Chief. He can ask, argue, and bargain for more employees, but that's all he can do.

As far as court is concerned, I would suggest doing some research. If you "accounted" for court time into an officer's schedule to avoid OT expenses, you're shorting the number of officers on the street. Additionally, if court is rescheduled or cancelled at the last minute, then the officer doesn't get those hours for his/her paycheck, and then they've got less than 40 hours/week on their paycheck, which depending on how much court was scheduled, could be disastrous to their take-home income.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

I say all of those full time slaves making less than $50,000 a year need a boost in pay soon. Let's put those tax dollars back into the community and expand economic growth. Last but not least improving the quality of life for our tax dollar workers is good for the soul.

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