Audit: County overtime costs exceed $ 110 million in 2020-21

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Several agencies pushed Riverside County’s overall overtime spending above $ 100 million in the past fiscal year, with the sheriff’s department leading the pack, according to a report the supervisory board will consider on Tuesday. .

The Office of the Auditor-Comptroller has just completed its assessment of “County-wide seamless overtime monitoring” for fiscal year 2020-2021 and, according to the story, a total of $ 111.1 million. was paid to cover occupational therapy costs across county government, down from $ 116 million in the previous year, a 4% decline.

The auditors mainly focused on agencies that had unusually higher OT spending, including the Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, Emergency Management Department, District Attorney’s Office, Department of Public Health, probation service and the office of the assessor-clerk-recorder.

Of all the agencies audited, the sheriff’s office had the highest amount in overtime spending – $ 58.7 million, which is a 17.5% decrease from 2019-20.

Despite the decline, however, 311 sheriff’s employees were earning OWs that represented at least 50% of their base salary, and of those employees, 73% were earning OWs that represented 70% of their base salary. According to the audit, a deputy sheriff was paid $ 137,480 in overtime, while his total regular salary was $ 94,875.

“A review of our overtime spending reflects the fact that almost 45% of the sheriff’s department’s overtime expenses last year were actually reimbursed – through grants, court security funding, court fees, etc. ‘special events and payments from cities that contract with the department for law enforcement patrols,’ according to an agency statement.

“The overtime for these operations did not cause any ‘budget overruns’ or unforeseen charges. Some overtime is inevitable, necessary and non-refundable in a complex 24-hour public security operation. “

In percentage terms, the Department of Public Health documented the largest increase in OT at 235.5% compared to 2019-2020. According to the audit, public health staff racked up just over $ 5 million in overtime, compared to $ 1.5 million in the previous fiscal year.

The sharp rise was directly attributed to “an effective response” to COVID-19 and “required mitigation activities carried out on a 7-day-per-week schedule.”

Likewise, the Emergency Management Department, another central player in the COVID response, saw an 89% increase in OW costs, which reached $ 1.23 million, from $ 649,958 in 2019-2020. .

“The overtime of staff generated by response and recovery efforts depends on the frequency, size, scope and duration of emergency events,” the agency said.

After reaching a decline in OO in 2019-2020, overtime expenditure for the district attorney’s office increased by 17% in 2020-21, from $ 1.9 million to $ 2.25 million. dollars, according to the audit.

Staff told the Office of the Auditor-Comptroller that the TO is only granted “when emergency situations arise”.

“The office has seen an increase in overtime largely due to the various special operations in the county due to the increase in criminal activity,” according to an agency statement. “The office continues to ensure that fiscal responsibility remains the ultimate goal without compromising the primary goal of county-wide public safety. “

Figures showed the fire department racked up $ 2.67 million in OT costs, or about 7% from the previous year. According to the agency, there was a “high turnover rate” in the emergency command center, which resulted in vacancies and the need for existing staff to fill positions, resulting in overtime.

The probation ministry spent $ 3.17 million to cover its overtime expenses in 2020-21, a jump of about 4% from the previous fiscal year, the data showed. The previous year’s OT had jumped 25%, so the recent increase has been much more contained.

The Evaluator-Registrar-Archivist’s office had comparatively low occupational therapy expenditures, but the percentage increase was notable – 51% – from the auditors’ perspective.

Evaluator staff received $ 794,530 in overtime, up from $ 525,889 in 2019-20, according to the report. The agency’s total budget for the past fiscal year was $ 40.56 million.

Officials said assessor-clerk-recorders staff were strained by “increases in workload” that many new hires were unable to handle, forcing career workers to log more hours for work. ensure that there were no “civil service delays”.

Audit: County overtime costs exceed $ 110 million in 2020-21 was last modified: October 18, 2021 through Contributing editor

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