BUFFALO, NY - Overtime in New York State is high! An audit by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office indicated overtime is on pace to hit a record $600 million dollars this year.
So far there is already a 16-percent increase in overtime costs when you compare this year to last year. The top three departments with the highest overtime costs so far are:
-Corrections $121.9 million
-The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities $95.3 million
-Mental Health $71.7 million
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said the state is paying attention and every item mentioned in the audit will be addressed.
However, he indicated that overtime is "very, very difficult, as long as its not abusive, overtime is very difficult to control especially in those areas that need staffing 24/7."
A state employee who works with mentally disabled persons told us in an email that workers would prefer not to work overtime all the time, but it is mandated because "our people NEED care 24/7 and we cant just say oh, the shift is over, bye."
Civil Service Employees Association spokesman Stephen Madarasz said when it comes to "the developmental disabilities area, it's just reprehensible the way the state is staffing its facilities. Again they have systematically chosen not to have enough staff. It's like talking to the wall when you talk to this administration about deficiencies."
As for high overtime in prisons, Madarasz said it shows that "as people retire or leave and positions are not filled, it's driving the need for the overtime because in fact the work is really still there."