SF city workers cash in on overtime

May 12, 2009 7:26:07 PM PDT
As San Francisco grapples with a huge budget problem, it at least has made some headway reigning in overtime. But there are still some employees nearly doubling their salaries, courtesy of overtime.

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This is the bi-annual overtime report compiled by the city controller. It covers the first ten months of this fiscal year.

The city still projects $20 million in overtime beyond what's budgeted. But even with that projection, over time is down 15 percent from last year.

Muni workers topped the overtime list. Number one was driver Hong Nguyen who had 1,300 hours of OT in the last 10 months. In other words, he made almost $39,000 which was way more than half his salary.

The other eight on the top 10 were all Muni workers. Each also made more than 1,000 hours of overtime.

At 10th place was firefighter Robert La Eace. He had 1,100 hours, making almost $45,000 in overtime. Again, that is more than half his salary.

Muni, fire, police, public health and the sheriff's office accounted for more than 88 percent of the city's total overtime.

Still, the controller's office says this report was good news.

"It does show that overtime in the current year has been reduced from last year and the last two years,"said Deputy Controller Monique Zmuda

Last year, the supervisors barred workers from overtime exceeding more than 30 percent of their regular hours.

This year, 271 employees worked more than the cap. But that was down from 503 employees the year before.

Zmuda says city departments have been vigilant.

"They're distributing the overtime hours to more workers. So as a result, more employees are earning overtime, but the total amount has come down," said Zmuda.

Muni says they've made a significant dent in overtime pay.

Overall, we're expecting our overtime spending to go down by three million dollars under the previous year.

Mayor Newsom told ABC7 the city's heading in the right direction. But there are still challenges ahead.

"One of the biggest issues that still remains is, of course, managing that overtime when we have less employees and you're asking more of those employees," said Mayor Newsom.

Fire officials say there are discrepancies in this list. They say their overtime cap is higher than a 40-hour a week city worker, because their regular shifts are longer.

The department also says many of the firefighters on this list worked overtime battling wildfires and the state should pay that OT.

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