OT costing city millions

With doomsday budget talk increasing, attention again turned to city overtime spending.

An increase of $171 million over last year in overtime is projected for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, according to a Budget Analyst’s report released late Tuesday.

As the overtime costs are climbing, Mayor Gavin Newsom is also calling for more oversight by departments.

Newsom is expected to issue an executive order today requiring departments to report monthly to the Mayor’s Budget Office on their overtime usage and propose specific actions to cut back if they exceed the budgeted monthly expenditure, said Nani Coloretti, the mayor’s budget director.

The City’s projected expenses are $61.9 million over what was budgeted for overtime, and spending has increased every year since 2003-04 as a percentage of what The City spends on salaries, according to the report, which was released amid a swirl of proposals to cut city spending.

Major departments have asked for more overtime funds in 2008-09. Some departments are forced to utilize overtime because of mandated staffing levels and staffing shortages, and others find it more economical to spend on overtime rather than hire fulltime employees with benefits.

Budget Analyst Harvey Rose said the overtime spending was a significant factor of the projected $338 million budget deficit. “If we didn’t have this additional overtime we could subtract $61 million from that,” Rose said.

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