Mayor Fischer concerned that some city employees double their salary with overtime payments [Opinion: The Arena]
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer recently learned that three city employees have earned more than $50,000 in overtime pay this year alone. Saying he’s concerned that overtime pay is unnecessarily costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year, Mayor Fischer today ordered a citywide review of overtime policies and procedures.
His action follows information that 550 employees — or 10 percent of the city workforce — have earned more than $15,000 in overtime this year. “There are instances in which overtime is scheduled and absolutely necessary to keep our city functioning, but unfortunately it seems as though overtime pay is, at the very least, overused and, at worst, abused,” Fischer said. “At a time when we are facing another shortfall for this fiscal year – and we expect to face another significant shortfall next year – the old ways of dealing with overtime are no longer acceptable.”
Today, Mayor Fischer sent a memo to Chief Financial Officer Steve Rowland and Human Resources Director Kellie Watson asking them for information including:
- A list of employees by department who have earned more than 15% of their base salary in overtime;
- A review of city policies on sick leave, medical leave and overtime compensation and comparing those to other cities and the private sector;
- A review of labor agreements relative to sick time, medical leave and overtime and what role, if any, they play in overtime.
The Mayor said he wants to understand the root causes of overtime compensation and find ways to reduce it to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent in the most fiscally-responsible ways. He also wants to ensure that managers are properly trained to avoid overtime when possible. “We must have the data to understand the issues,” he said.
The review of overtime should be completed by Jan. 10, Fischer said in his letter to Rowland and Watson.
Rowland said some overtime pay is scheduled and built into departmental budgets – such as overtime for firefighters who, by the nature of their jobs, work long hours because they stay overnight in firehouses. Other overtime is not scheduled and Rowland believes that unscheduled overtime can be brought under more control.
Earlier this year, when Fischer discovered that overtime pay was an issue in Public Works, he authorized the hiring of 15 new people for garbage and recycling collection routes. That move is expected to save $335,000 annually.
In other news, Mayor Fischer announced today that he has appointed Ingram Quick as the city’s Internal Auditor. Quick has served as interim auditor since April of this year, following the retirement of longtime auditor Mike Norman.
“Ingram has strong skills and qualifications and has done an excellent job during the past few months,” Fischer said. “We looked far and realized that the best person for the job was right here in city government.”
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity and challenge,” Quick said. “I look forward to helping the mayor pursue his goal of creating a more open, accountable and efficient city government.”
Quick, 37, earned his bachelor’s from Tennessee State University and is a Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Internal Auditor.
He started his career with city government in 2001, working as a senior accountant in Public Health and Wellness. He has worked in the Office of Management and Budget as a grant monitor and joined the Internal Audit office in 2005.
Quick’s appointment is effective Jan. 10. He will earn $90,000 a year. Not counting overtime.
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