IT worker got $180k in OT; NY OT down overall

NYS IT Worker Makes The Most In Overtime

ALBANY -- It pays to know how to take care of the state's computers.

The state's highest overtime earner last year received $180,000 in overtime alone last year -- on top of her nearly $68,000 salary, state records released Monday showed.

Debborah Casais worked 3,312 hours of overtime last year as an information technician in the Office of Information Technology Services, according to the list released by the state Comptroller's Office following a Freedom of Information request.

Casais topped the list of at least 30 state workers who earned more than $100,000 in overtime in 2016.

But overall, overtime was down at state agencies: a 3 percent decline between 2015 and 2016, a drop from $716 million to $694 million, respectively.

The biggest decline was at the Division of State Police, where overtime fell 26 percent, to $48 million last year.

Visit: For public data on New York salaries and spending, http://nydatabases.com

State Police had a surge in overtime in 2015 as part of the search for two convicted killers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility near the Canadian border.

Overtime also fell at the agency with the second highest overtime amount: the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. The agency's overtime costs fell 11 percent to $134 million, the records showed.

Overtime has long been a concern at state agencies, particularly in recent years when Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered them to keep budgets flat to limit state spending to less than 2 percent growth.

The state's prisons and psychiatric centers often have the employees with the largest overtime payouts.

The majority of the top overtime earners were at those facilities, but in addition to Casais, the fourth highest overtime earner was also at IT Services: Peter Walton, an IT tech, who received $135,000, the records show.

The state said it uses overtime carefully.

"Under this administration, the state workforce has declined by nearly 10,000 positions, and overtime – as this year’s drop demonstrates -- is used carefully and only when needed," Morris Peters, a spokesman for the state Budget Division, said.

"The alternative would be a larger, more bloated, more expensive and less efficient state bureaucracy that New York taxpayers simply can't afford."

The Office of Mental Health's overtime costs jumped 7.4 percent, up $7.5 million, to $109 million — the biggest dollar increase of any agency.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has regularly warned about the state relying on overtime to pay for services and program.

Yet his office had a spike last year: Overtime there jumped 32 percent, or an increase of $823,000, to nearly $3.4 million.

The Comptroller's Office said it has had to deal with an influx of baby boomers retiring. The office oversees payroll for the state workforce and their retirement, and it last year had to recalculate pensions for some people with military service under a new law.

"We authorized employees to work more hours to meet our deadlines for processing the large increase in retirement and new member applications," said Jennifer Freeman, a Comptroller's Office spokeswoman.

Gannett


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