City Hall Watch: Board votes to rein in overtime hours

San Francisco is cracking down on city workers’ overtime by restricting the number of extra hours logged.

Under a new law adopted unanimously Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors, the number of overtime hours, which are paid at 150 percent of normal hourly rate, will come under the scrutiny of a board committee.

The bill was introduced by Supervisor Jake McGoldrick and Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The law also caps the amount of overtime a city employee can work. Employees can no longer work overtime in excess of 30 percent of their normally scheduled hours.

A full-time employee who works 2,080 hours in a year could only work up to 624 hours in overtime. The law permits overtime usage to exceed the cap when the work is considered an emergency or a critical service need.

In the first six months of 2008, several public-safety employees have logged more than 624 hours of overtime, including two firefighters working as mechanics who have each worked more than 900 hours in overtime, The Examiner first reported last month.

“We see folks who are making $80,000 baseline salary and they are making $100,000, $120,000 in overtime,” McGoldrick said. “We want to be able to resolve that.”

Micki Callahan, appointed by Newsom as director of human resources, said the legislation “will help alleviate some of the major issues where we have a few individuals effectively working two jobs for us.”

“We don’t think that’s safe or a good human-resources practice,” she said.

The move to curb overtime usage comes after Newsom had to close a $388 million budget deficit before submitting a balanced city budget June 2. The City is already looking at a deficit of up to $250 million for the next fiscal year.

The board’s second and final vote on the legislation is scheduled for next week.

IN OTHER ACTION

  • Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin’s resolution calling for an economic study and the postponement of Newsom’s plan to close the Embarcadero to cars to allow for healthy-activity days was defeated by a 6-5 vote.
  • By a 9-1 vote, a charter amendment authorizing supervisors to have more than two legislative aides was submitted to the November 2009 ballot.
  • By an 8-3 vote, final approval was given to a ban of tobacco sales at all pharmacies, such as Walgreens. The ban will take effect Sept. 30.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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