Council member raises red flag over city overtime

By Rob Wiercinski - email 

Posted by Nick Dutton - email

TOLEDO (WTOL) -- The City Auditor's Office has released a report on how much the city is racking up in overtime. It  looks at general fund overtime expenses over the first four months of 2008 and signals a trend. This could mean big trouble, later this year, for the city. That has a city council member calling on the mayor's office to take corrective measures.

Even though he used a yellow marker to highlight a report from the city auditor, the numbers have Councilman Mike Collins seeing red.

"If you spread the numbers out, we very conceivably will be a million dollars over budget in that account," says Collins.

That account is general fund overtime, and between January and April it nearly doubled, compared to last year for the four main departments using overtime.

The biggest jump was in fire and rescue, where overtime more than doubled over the first four months of this year.

A fire administrator tells News 11 that's because 16 firefighters received paramedic training, and others had to cover their shifts to maintain the minimum daily staffing levels.

The jump was also significant for Toledo Police. Chief Mike Navarre says even though overtime hours in the department were down during the first quarter, new pay raises have kicked in.

"And there were a lot of individuals that more than likely held off on cashing in overtime until after the raise went into effect," says Navarre.

The situation has Collins urging the mayor's office to clamp down on overtime for the rest of the year.

"We could be in serious trouble at the beginning of November and we would have to seriously compromise the city services somewhere," says Councilman Mike Collins.

A spokesperson for the mayor says overtime is being closely monitored, but at this point it's not expected to result in any service cuts or layoffs.

Toledo Overtime Report January - April
2007 $822,384.00
2008 $1,633,277.00
Fire and Rescue Overtime January - April
2007 $365,476.00
2008 $805,970.00
Police Overtime January - April
2007 $393,205.00
2008 $610,897.00
Stay with News 11 and for continuing coverage.