NY comptroller reports record overtime paid at state agencies of $661 million last year

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ALBANY, New York — New York's comptroller reported Wednesday that state agencies spent a record $661 million on staff overtime in 2014, up almost $50 million from the previous year.

The new report showed total extra hours worked by agency employees rose by 1 million to nearly 16 million last year.

"State agencies need to better control their use of overtime and carefully manage these costs while examining the programmatic impact on service delivery to New Yorkers," Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said.

According to the comptroller's office, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision's $180 million in overtime last year was nearly $20 million and more than 12 percent higher than the year before.

That was followed by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities' $138 million of 2014 overtime, up more than $14 million or nearly 12 percent.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the report's "cherry-picked data" omitted that total state personnel costs are down $588 million since just before Cuomo took office and that overtime is used "carefully and only when needed."

"The alternative would be a larger, more bloated, and more expensive state bureaucracy," spokesman Richard Azzopardi said.

The report said its data was taken from the state payroll system, which is maintained by the comptroller's office. Lump sum and retroactive overtime payments were not included.

"Overtime hours rose by 7.3 percent, a higher increase than in any of the past four years," the report said. "Overtime earnings rose for the fifth straight year, with an 8.2 percent increase compared to a 15.6 percent jump the previous year."

Hours worked beyond 40 in a week comprised 4.3 percent of overall payroll spending last year, up from 3.9 percent in 2013, the report said. Cumulatively, the agencies spent $4.1 billion, or about 3.5 percent, of total payroll on extra hours between 2007 and 2014.

Last year, the Office of Mental Health spent $101.5 million on overtime, up nearly $7 million or more than 7 percent, the report said. Next was the State University of New York, spending nearly $63 million, up nearly $5 million or more than 8 percent.

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