Philadelphia city government could set record this year for overtime spending

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The city of Philadelphia is projecting that it will spend the most its ever spent on overtime this fiscal year. 

For one, higher wages create higher overtime spending. And then there are unplanned emergencies, such as the PES refinery fire response and the police stand-off with a gunman in August.

"We can't say, you know, can we pick this up tomorrow at 8:30 or 9," she said.

Harvey Rice, PICA's executive director, notes the Office of Property Assessment went through its whole overtime allotment in one quarter.

Waxman says the office had budgeted only $20,000, and she also notes it was short-staffed through the summer. She says understaffing is a big overtime driver.

"If you don't have your full compliment of employees, that means you have to rely on extra hours from the folks you do have on staff," she said. 

Rice says the numbers concern the board because excessive overtime has been a stubborn trend in the city budget, but he says the city still has time to get it under control.

"There's still three quarters where, if they have better management, they can try to correct it," he said.

Waxman says the city is working on making sure departments stay fully staffed to reduce the need for overtime.