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DiNapoli says most of state's overtime costs come from three agencies

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 4/12/2012, 2:16 p.m.
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In a new report released last week, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli concluded that the cost of paying state employees overtime between 2007 and 2011 represents 3.15 percent of the state's payroll.

According to DiNapoli's report, state agencies spent $469 million for over 12.2 million hours of overtime last year, with three agencies--the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Department of Correctional and Community Supervision (DOCCS)--sharing over 60 percent of the total.

The report is part of the comptroller's continuing efforts to improve the efficiency of state operations.

According to the report, the OPWDD had the highest total overtime hours at nearly 3 million, which accounts for 24 percent of the total overtime hours in the state. The OMH acquired 2.3 million hours, 19 percent of the total, and the DOCCS had 2.2 million overtime hours, 18 percent.

"Our report shows that while overtime has declined over the past five years, a few agencies remain the primary drivers of overtime spending in state government," said DiNapoli in a statement. "All agencies should continue to carefully monitor overtime use to ensure that it is justified, reduce where possible and ensure that necessary work gets done efficiently and effectively."

But DiNapoli was quick to note that overtime hours have trended downward over the past five years, declining every year between 2007 and 2010. It increased from 2010 to 2011, but it's still down 11.8 percent over 2007.

"Over the past five years, the size of the state workforce has decreased along with the overall amount of overtime," read a statement from the comptroller's office. "The state workforce in 2011 was 2.7 percent smaller than 2007, and the total amount of overtime hours was 11.8 percent lower. However, overtime hours used in agencies largely made up of institutional settings (such as OPWDD, OMH and DOCCS) have stayed relatively level, thus increasing those agencies' portion of total overtime hours in 2011."