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Erie County Comptroller issues report on COVID-19 related overtime

Erie County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein received more than $80,000 in overtime.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw (R) issued a report regarding overtime collected by managerial and confidential employees normally not eligible for overtime, but are during a State of Emergency.

As 2 On Your Side's Dave McKinley reported Tuesday, Erie County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein has received more than $80,000 in overtime.

The money to pay for the overtime comes from from the federal government to pay for COVID-19 related expenses.

According to the report, of the $3.2 million paid out in overtime in the past 18 weeks, $835,000 was paid to 54 managerial and confidential employees, who are not normally eligible for it.  Those employees represent six percent of the county workforce, but have collected 26% of the overtime. 

The report was produced largely at the behest of Erie County Legislature Chairwoman April Baskin, who has called for a careful accounting of the monies being spent.

In a statement, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "

 “As approved by the passage by the Erie County Legislature of a special resolution prior to this administration taking office, it has been the County’s past practice to pay overtime to all eligible employees during a state of emergency situation, with the only exception being elected officials such as myself. The departments under my control followed the same procedures that were used during the November 2014 superstorm and other winter weather emergency events that have taken place during my time in office. Any submissions for overtime must have been legitimately incurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis situation unseen during any of our lifetimes. The time for each employee must be properly documented as part of the standard procedures used by Erie County during any state of emergency, and if not they would not have qualified for overtime reimbursement.”

Read the Comptrollers report here 

2 On Your Side' Dave McKinley is following this story and will have more details on Channel 2 News First at 5pm. 

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