NYS Comptroller: State spent $661 million on overtime in 2014

Total overtime earnings and hours in 2014 were higher than in any of the previous seven years

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli speaks during a news conference on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB-TV) — New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released a report on overtime pay in 2014.

The state spent $661 million on overtime earnings last year — an increase of nearly $50 million over 2013, according to the report.

“This is a multi-year trend. It is continuing. It is a significant cost. And the comptroller believes that state agencies need to look carefully at their use of overtime,” said Robert Ward, deputy comptroller for budget and policy analysis.

The report states that overtime earnings rose for the fifth straight year, and that the majority of the overtime use was concentrated within three agencies that manage institutional settings.

DOCUMENT | State report on overtime pay.

Key findings:

  • Total overtime earnings and hours in 2014 were higher than in any of the previous seven years. For both hours and earnings, nine of the ten State agencies with the highest levels of overtime reported increases from 2013 to 2014.
  • Overtime comprised 4.3 percent of overall payroll spending in 2014, up from 3.9 percent in 2013, reflecting the highest share among the years analyzed in this report. Overtime spending cumulatively totaled $4.1 billion, or approximately 3.5 percent, of total payroll between 2007 and 2014.
  • Three agencies that manage institutional settings – the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (Corrections), the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) and the Office of Mental Health (Mental Health) – accounted for nearly two-thirds of the overtime hours and earnings logged by all State agencies in 2014. Overtime hours at OPWDD rose 11.4 percent from the prior year and more than 60 percent from 2009 to 2014, while overtime earnings at Corrections increased 12.3 percent from the prior year and by 94 percent from 2009 to 2014.

According to the comptroller’s report, together those agencies accounted for 65 percent of the overtime hours and 63 percent of the overtime earnings logged by all state agencies last year.

“These are the agencies that run large institutions, of course, so a lot of their budgets are spent on payroll,” Ward said.

Ward said that total overtime earnings and hours in 2014 were higher than in any of the previous seven years.

Governor Cuomo’s office released a statement in response to DiNapoli’s overtime report.

“This cherry-picked data omits the key fact that total personnel costs are down by $588 million compared to just before the governor took office,” said spokesman Rich Azzopardi. “Overtime is used carefully and only when needed. The alternative would be a larger, more bloated, and more expensive state bureaucracy that special interests may like, but New York taxpayers simply can’t afford.”

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