- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A new report reveals that overtime pay for D.C. government employees has “ballooned” in recent years.

The Office of the District of Columbia Auditor (ODCA) released new findings on Tuesday revealing that overtime pay more than doubled from $40.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to $108.2 million in fiscal year 2017.

“The use of employee overtime is a necessary tool for every government, and especially important for public safety agencies,” said D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson in a statement on Tuesday. “However, this report’s recommendations for stronger management, more specific regulatory guidance, and improvements in policies, practices, and internal controls, like conducting staffing needs assessments and making permanent hires where possible,would help minimize the use of overtime and save District taxpayer dollars.”

The four agencies reviewed were the Departments of Corrections, Public Works, Youth Rehabilitation Services and Forensic Sciences.

The audit stated the most common cause for too much overtime was an agency employing too few permanent staff. ODCA notes that the District’s prison population has nearly doubled in recent years which has strained current staffing levels at the Department of Corrections. Likewise, an increased caseload at the Crime Scene Services Division has had a similar effect on the Department of Forensic Services. The audit also says the Streetcar route resulted in overtime for Department of Public Works’ employees on parking enforcement duty.

The second most common cause ODCA found was mismanaged staff absences which did not follow the D.C. Department of Human Resources’ protocol for overtime approval.

• Julia Airey can be reached at jairey@washingtontimes.com.

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