overtime

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The city of Syracuse swore in a new class of police officers on Monday. The new recruits are filling spots being vacated by retiring officers and helping to cut down on overtime.

Kimberly Dishaw of Syracuse is one of the 25 new officers.

“I’m just overwhelmed, excited, ready to start class,” Dishaw said.

The officers now begin 26 weeks at the police academy before another 12 weeks of field training. Speaking to the new recruits, Police Chief Frank Fowler told them it is a challenging time to be an officer.

Payne Horning, Leah Landry / WRVO News

Cities across upstate are targeting employee overtime as they wrestle with budget shortfalls. In Oswego, the city spends more than $1 million a year in overtime expenses. The costs were a key issue candidates pledged to fix during the city's recent mayoral election. Now, Mayor-elect Billy Barlow is trying to make good on that promise, saying he will make addressing overtime a top priority when he assumes office in January.

According to recent statistics, 2.1 million New Yorkers are cheated out of $3.2 billion in wages and benefits. Activists are trying to get the word out that this wage theft is happening here in central New York.

Rebecca Fuentes is an organizer with the Workers’ Center of Central New York. She says wage theft happens when employers underpay workers, don’t pay overtime, or classify them in the wrong job description. And it makes it harder for a working family to get by.
 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO News file photo

New York's state comptroller says the Cuomo administration racked up a record $611 million in overtime payments over the past year.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the 16 percent increase in overtime payments between 2012 and 2013 comes mostly from employees in institutional settings, like prisons and psychiatric centers. The state police also paid troopers $35 million in overtime payments, at an average of over $74 an hour.  

DiNapoli says the uptick comes at a time when state government has been downsizing employees.

Onondaga County is cracking down on employees who pile up overtime pay which ultimately push their pensions higher. Reducing these payments could save the county millions of dollars in the long run.