By Margaret Sessa-Hawkins, Margaret@MarylandReporter.com
Although the number of overtime payments to state employees made in 2013 remained roughly the same as those made in 2012, the sum of those payments rose by more than $8 million, according to a database provided by the state comptrollers office in response to a Public Information Act request.
In 2012, the total amount of overtime paid out to all state employees totaled $126,719,585. Over 2013 the total payments rose to $135,050,262 over $8 million more. Roughly one-third of this increase is due to an across-the-board living allowance raise which occurred in January of 2013.
The extra rise in overtime indicates either that more total overtime hours were worked this past year, or that higher-paid employees were working the same number of hours.
The agencies which had the total highest spending on overtime were the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.
The circumstances which arise which require overtime are usually in 24-hour settings where someone absolutely needs to be there, said Warren Deschenaux, director of the Office of Policy Analysis in the Maryland Department of Legislative Services. If someone is sick or takes leave, someone else needs to cover, and often that is overtime.
Corrections pays out most overtime
The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services once again paid out the highest amount of overtime of any department at $43,815,775. Although the number of people receiving overtime in the department decreased by about 3,000, once the 2% Cost-of-Living Allowance raise (COLA) was accounted for the total amount of overtime paid remained roughly the same. This led to a 47% increase in the amount of overtime paid per person.
According to Deschenaux, reducing the number of persons earning overtime does not necessarily accomplish anything for an organization.
The idea is to reduce the total cost of overtime, Deschenaux said. How many people are earning it matters only in that you want to spread it around fairly evenly.
Most other top agencies, however, actually increased the amount of overtime paid this year. The Department of Transportation had the largest increase of 24% to $5,110,095 total. The Department of Human Resources had the second largest increase of 17% to $1,469,710 total. Most other agencies paying large amounts of overtime had minimal increases of less than 5% once the COLA was accounted for.
DOT did not respond to requests for comment.
Juvenile services lowers overtime
The Department of Juvenile Services was the only agency to significantly lower the total amount of overtime. They paid out $846,949 less this year, an almost 10% decrease once the COLA increase is accounted for.
The agency received 24 additional positions in FY 2013, explained Eric Solomon, the Public Information Officer for the department, in an e-mail. This has helped us reduce overtime. We have also experienced a decrease in our juvenile populations.
However, even with the decrease, the department still pays out the largest sum of overtime per person of $6,571.
Like these other agencies, we are a 24/7 operation that requires posts to be filled regardless if staff are in training, on leave, or called in sick, Solomon stated. Also, our peak workload demand often exceeds the resources we have available.
Individually, 138 people, or .4% of those paid overtime, had salaries which topped 100,000 once overtime was added in. The highest overtime payment was to a Department of Health & Mental Hygiene worker who took home almost $92,000 in overtime, more than doubling her $78,000 regular salary.
Top 10 Overtime Earners
-- Iris Mielke, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Regular Salary: $77,997 Overtime: $91,848, Total Salary: $178,863
-- Joseph Carter, Department of Transportation. Regular Salary: $87,447 Overtime: $89,048 Total Salary: $177,869
-- Harold Lynch, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Regular Salary: $49,505 Overtime: $80,102 Total Salary $131,794
-- Hammond Asafo-Agyei. Department of Public Safety and Corrective Services. Regular Salary $56,310 Overtime Salary $79,582 Total Salary $136,642
-- Anthony Osandu. Department of Public Safety & Corrective Services. Regular Salary: $56,310 Overtime: $78,551 Total Salary: $136,812
-- John Hailey. Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Regular Salary: $47,795. Overtime: $78,212. Total Salary: $131,360
-- Neile Hicks. Department of Transportation. Regular Salary: $69,032 Overtime: $69,824. Total Salary: $147,386
-- Ike Odaozu. Department of Public Safety & Corrective Services. Regular Salary: $55,251. Overtime: $69,048. Total Salary: $125,694
-- Adeleye Adeyemi. Department of Public Safety and Corrective Services. Regular Salary: $45,850 Overtime: $66,706 Total Salary: $114,842
-- Sidney Proctor. Department of Transportation. Regular Salary: $55,251 Overtime: $65,126 Total Salary: $121,204
Part 1: State Employees Making $100k Jumped 20% to 6,847 Last Year
Part 2: Md. State University Profs Make More Than National Average