State must cut overtime

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently released a report that showed for the first six months of the year, New York state employees were paid $316 million in overtime. At that pace, the amount would be more than two-thirds of $1 billion in overtime for the year, up $30 million from the total overtime costs in 2013.

In his report, DiNapoli said this spike in overtime costs could be record-breaking and that, “Our state agencies need to examine their practices, get to the root of what is driving high overtime and better manage these costs.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office apparently disagrees. Cuomo’s administration says the overtime costs are still lower than personnel costs from past years, and the state is better off paying huge overtime costs than hiring more people and paying them full salaries and benefits.

While it may be true the overtime costs are cheaper than hiring more state workers, it is still unacceptable that the state is allowing this level of overtime expense. In the private sector, overtime is only given when absolutely necessary. When positions are eliminated in the private sector, it is also typical for the work of those eliminated jobs to be distributed among the remaining employees. Job duties are revised to allow employees to complete the work during regular shifts.

It is the responsibility of any manager, including those we elect, to ensure employees work more efficiently and not give a blank check for overtime because of a reduction in staff.