(Hauppauge, NY-August 28, 2012) Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced that despite cutting the size of Suffolk County government by more than 650 employees, overtime is down more than $9 million from the same period just one year ago as a result of new polices, improved management and a culture change that emphasizes that overtime should only be used as a last resort. In all, overtime decreased from $35.7 million to this point in 2011 versus $26.6 million in 2012, a decrease of 25 percent countywide.
Suffolk County is spending significantly less on overtime despite the fact that the government has 658 fewer employees today than it did before County Executive Bellone was sworn into office, 372 employees have left the payroll since June 30. One of the reasons Suffolk County’s projected budget deficit has been reduced is that the Blue Ribbon Fiscal Task Force had estimated the county would need to spend an additional $20 million in overtime for the remainder of 2012 and 2013 as a result of layoffs and attrition.
“We are making government more efficient to do more with less for Suffolk County taxpayers,” County Executive Bellone said. “We will continue to carefully scrutinize each request and make sure that approving overtime is the exception, not the rule.”
Since February, Bellone has implemented tough new overtime restrictions which required department heads to submit overtime requests seven days in advance and informed department heads not to submit requests for routine meetings or projects. There has also been greater scrutiny of overtime requests.
Last year when Suffolk County ran a $60 million budget deficit, the county spent $70.8 million, exceeding budgeted overtime by $14.1 million. For 2012, overtime is budgeted at $60.9 million. Overtime is down in every department which reports to County Executive Bellone. The only major area where overtime is up is the Board of Elections which saw overtime increase from $271,768 to $796,614, largely as a result of several elections this year including an unprecedented primary in June.
“Throughout our government we are controlling overtime and tackling the budget deficit,” County Executive Bellone. “Like most businesses, the work we need to do in government can usually be done during normal working hours. If after scrutiny, we determine it cannot, then and only then do we approve overtime.”
Among the biggest savings on Overtime on a Department by Department basis:
• Police: Savings $3,308,892
• Public Works: Savings $2,385,517
• Sheriff: Savings $2,135,704
• Health Services: $587,416
• Social Services: $535,501
• Probation: $249,433