Despite OT-curbing steps, city exceeds budget 

City departments are on pace to overspend their overtime budgets by $17 million, according to a City Controller’s report released

In recent years, as San Francisco faced deficits of about $500 million, city officials attempted to crack down on overtime costs by implementing such measures as a 625-hour overtime cap per employee — with some exceptions — along with regularly reporting overtime usage.

The mid-fiscal year report released Tuesday projects The City will spend a total of $139.8 million on overtime, down from the $142 million spent last fiscal year and the $167.7 million spent the previous year. Eighty-five percent of The City’s overtime spending is attributed to the “Big Five,” Muni and the Police, Fire, Sheriff’s and Public Health departments.

Departments exceeding their budgeted overtime include the cash-strapped San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni. The department budgeted $39.9 million for overtime, but it’s projected to spend $48.3 million. Last year, the agency spent $44.2 million in overtime. The SFMTA is the only Big Five department that’s on track to increase its overtime spending this fiscal year.

“Clearly we need to reduce overtime costs, but overtime does, in many times, equal service,” SFMTA spokesman Judson True said, adding that the department is working to not exceed last year’s overtime expenditures.

The Police Department is projected to exceed its overtime budget by $4 million for a total of $16.6 million, but that’s $3 million less than what was spent last year. Police spokeswoman Sgt. Lyn Tomioka said efforts are under way to further reduce overtime spending this year.

“We were very ambitious about how we budgeted overtime in the Police Department, and many people felt it wasn’t possible,” said Supervisor John Avalos, chair of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, which reviews departments’ budget proposals.

“Under [police Chief George] Gascón’s leadership, we are starting to become believers — and we still have more work to do.”

Despite city departments overspending overtime budgets, The City is projected to spend about $2 million less on overtime this fiscal year compared to last fiscal year. Departments will have to offset the expenses with savings in their salary budgets.


Clocking in city workers’ overtime

The city controller’s report on overtime spending for the first half of fiscal year 2009-10 shows San Francisco departments are exceeding their overtime budgets, but are spending less than last fiscal year.

    Projected FY2008-09
Department* Budgeted OT total total OT spent
SFMTA $39.9M $48.3M $44.2M
Police $12.2M $16.6M $20M
Public Health $11.9M $8.7M $9.7M
Fire $20.6M $23.9M $24.7M
Sherif $9.3M $8.4M $12.1M

* The Police and Fire departments’ figures are use of general fund dollars spent on overtime and do not include overtime paid for by grants or other funding sources

What The City has historically spent overall on overtime:

Fiscal year Total spent on overtime
2003-04    $93.6M
2004-05    $100.0M
2005-06    $124.2M
2006-07    $151.5M
2007-08    $167.7M
2008-09    $142.1M
2009-10    projected $139.8M 

Source: City controller’s biannual overtime report for fiscal year 2009-10

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