HARTFORD (CBS Connecticut) – State employees are taking center stage in Connecticut’s budget battle.
According to a recent report by Connecticut budget officials that was obtained by the Hartford Courant, state employees were paid $250 million in overtime last year.
Out of more than 45,000 state employees, officials estimate that nearly 2,000 were paid overtime during a one-month period.
The Courant reports that 14 prison system workers received overtime of at least 150 percent of their regular pay. To reach that amount, you would have had to work double your normal hours.
The paper also reports that many correction officers, state troopers, and prison nurses pumped up their overtime during the three years their pension is based on.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said he wants his appointees to cut down on overtime. To accomplish this, the governor’s office submitted breakdowns by agencies on how they want to achieve a cut on overtime during the fiscal year.
According to a report obtained by the Courant from state budget director Ben Barnes, the top five state agencies for overtime were: the Department of Correction at $65.3 million, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services at $44.33 million, the Department of Developmental Services at $39.7 million, the Department of Public Safety at $25.2 million, and the Department of Transportation at $23 million.
Gov. Malloy declared on Aug. 23 that “we have got to be more mindful of overtime.” He also told his commissioners and agency heads that they will now be held accountable for overtime.
According to Barnes, these agency heads will now have to justify any overtime.
“Some of it may be unavoidable, but some can be cut with careful management,” he told the Courant.
Union officials are urging the hiring of more full-time employees as a way to get rid of overtime.
Barnes feels optimistic that with the help of his office and agency heads they can reach the overtime reduction goal. He feels that Malloy’s administration is addressing the problem while his predecessor had not.