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Under Pressure, Conn. State Overtime Pay On Rise

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Overtime pay for Connecticut state workers has increased despite a goal set by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to cut overtime spending by 10 percent.

Still, the Malloy administration has limited the rise in overtime costs over the last few budget years.

The Republican-American reports (http://bit.ly/1chbfuT ) that a $12.8 million increase in Malloy’s first year in 2011 was followed by smaller increases of $1.3 million in 2012 and $1.8 million last year.

State employees were paid nearly $795 million in overtime in the three years Malloy since took office in January 2011.

The Office of Policy and Management has established watch lists of employees whose earnings exceeded set thresholds and Malloy and state employee unions negotiated a two-year wage freeze for the 2012 and 2013 budget years.

In 2011, the governor’s budget office started to closely track overtime costs. Agency spending came under tight scrutiny, with departments required to report and justify overtime spending every month.

“We have certainly been holding back on how much money is made available in their budgets for that,” said Benjamin Barnes, the state budget director

The most overtime was paid to employees in the Department of Correction. It has the largest staff in state government and one of the biggest budgets. The department’s annual overtime costs escalated each of the last three fiscal years, and rising overtime costs are straining the prison system’s budget this year.

The Department of Transportation already has plowed through overtime as workers contend with one of the snowiest winters in years. The state spends $100,000 an hour on snow clearing, according to Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.

The department budgets for 12 storms a year, he said. The storm last Saturday was the 13th this winter, and spring is still about five weeks away.

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Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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