Saturday, March 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Public-sector overtime costs provoke questions

By
From page A11 | July 06, 2014 |

The recent attention given to skyrocketing public sector overtime costs deserves taxpayer scrutiny. As citizens poured over salary information available via an online database, jaws dropped as scores of public employees easily racked up over $50,000 in overtime, with many actually doubling their take home pay. The database provided hundreds of examples of seemingly over-compensated employees. This data is alarming, but taxpayer wrath should not be directed solely at the recipients of these huge checks.

Overtime is a valuable tool to address periodic peaks in demand. It is cheaper than hiring another employee for short-term periods, since a hiring manager does not have to pay out a second set of benefits, and also saves corresponding recruiting and training costs. However, if “periodic” becomes “standard operating procedure,” then the valuable tool becomes cost-ineffective.

In addition to labor cost overruns, astute managers are worried about fatigue with their team members. The quality of work can decrease, safety is jeopardized and employee morale can sink rapidly.  Now imagine someone whose responsibility involves saving lives or facing dangerous situations: Fatigue-induced lapses in judgment or delays in reaction can literally mean life or death.

One shocking local example found in the database involves a Vallejo police corporal who racked up 2,400 hours of overtime in 2013. Considering that a typical salaried employee works 2,000 hours a year, this hardworking fellow consistently worked 80-hour weeks.

On first glance, this seems as if the supervisors were not paying attention. Having a public safety officer consistently work double shift does not benefit the community, nor the officer, in the long term. In work environments I have participated in, working an employee at a consistent 100 percent overtime would surely earn the manager a visit from human resources. Additionally, in some sectors, excessive overtime can be against the law. If a professional truck driver worked 57 hours in a 72-hour period like our hard-working corporal, they would face civil fines and penalties.

Even with all the shocking employee payout data seen in the database, many questions remain unasked. Do the increases in overtime funds reflect more overtime hours worked or do they reflect a higher overtime rate? Since overtime pay is based on regular pay, perhaps the base pay is abnormally high and is merely compounded when paying overtime?

What would the payroll be if the department was staffed at full levels? If a department that should have 10 people has a million-dollar payroll, that equals $100,000 per employee. If the same department gets slashed to five people, but still has a million-dollar payroll, each person is making $200,000 a year, which may shock some observers, yet the overall budget remains the same.

Should management-level employees be exempt vs.non-exempt employees? In the private sector, as one progresses along the management ladder, charging for every little bit of overtime becomes a thing of the past. Is that the way things work in the public sector?

Another unasked question: What exactly are they doing during the overtime?  Is it vital specialized labor, or is it administrative paperwork? Could any of their workload be transferred to a less-specialized public employee, or subcontracted out, or even dropped altogether?

Excessive overtime is a red flag in any organization, be it private or public sector. It indicates fundamental issues within the organization, whether it be a poor organizational structure, poor workload distribution, inadequate hiring and recruitment strategies, or some combination of the three. Simply throwing scarce payroll dollars at the problem will harm our communities in the long run.

 Brian Thiemer is chairman of the Solano County Libertarian Party. He can be reached at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • MikeJuly 06, 2014 - 8:37 am

    I agree, managers are not managing their workforce. Everyone needs time to recharge, especially a high stress position as police. The Human Resources department needs to reign in on outrageous amounts of overtime, it's not healthy or efficient.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fraisure Smith hearing delayed twice Friday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Luncheon honors women for their work to help others

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Sheepdogs, handlers flock to Rio Vista for trials

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Solano Rotary clubs honor top firefighters from across county

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Eatery to host event to support child with cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Project begins to brighten downtown Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 26, 2016

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Suisun police log: March 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Going home to mother

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

 
Jury says Silicon Valley firm did not discriminate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Gov. Brown signs $1 billion water plan for dry California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Public defender: San Francisco jail inmates forced to fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
NY mayor: Someone may have ‘inappropriately’ tapped gas line

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Feds: Baltimore jail illegally keeping juveniles in solitary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Autopsies determine children found in freezer were slain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fetus debate looms following charges in womb-cutting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Pugnacious Reid retiring, wants Schumer as Senate Dem leader

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Senate OKs Republican balanced-budget plan, following House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
‘Sopranos’ star’s apartment destroyed by blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pilot who scared passengers sues airline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

‘Mad Men’ costumes, props head to Smithsonian

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US economy showing signs of durability

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Mexico City businesses cite losses during Bond filming

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Comedian Gardell hosts game show version of Monopoly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Nelson set to return to role as Coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
German airline could face ‘unlimited’ damages for Alps crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
About 4,000 fishermen stranded on Indonesian islands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Iran says nuke talks focused despite Yemen crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

At least 9 dead as militants attack hotel in Somali capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italy high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Living

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Today in History: March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: March 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

My elderly mother is so stingy I’m finding excuses not to visit her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
The newest fitness trend: Mixing it up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Entertainment

‘Stomp’ stopped by NYC blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Mannequin museum show hits New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
‘Teen Mom’ star charged in picture posting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

People: Zane Malik

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Larry David Broadway role handed to Jason Alexander

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Notre Dame beats Stanford women 81-60, advances to Elite Eight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
New Rodriguez head football coach introduced

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

Curry, Thompson lead Warriors in rout over Grizzlies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Evans helps desperate Pelicans end skid vs. Kings, 102-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Ranuado goes 6 for Rangers’ but A’s rally for 7-6 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A-Rod’s cousin pleads guilty in Florida steroids case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Durant to have another surgery, miss rest of season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chicago rooftop owner charged with trying to defraud Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gift returns: Sterling wife wants house, $1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shaq acknowledges regret about decision to leave Magic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NASCAR topic: Cheating with tire pressure, or just hot air?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hot Rod Hundley, former NBA player and Jazz announcer, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Area resident Jimmy Walker takes lead in Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Logano wins Martinsville pole; Elliott to start 27th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Helen Kalis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Roberts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carol A. Vose

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Janice Jewel Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Home Seller 3/28/2015

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for March 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2