Philadelphia sets record on overtime spending

A Pennsylvania public spending watchdog organization is not pleased
Philadelphia City Hall.
Philadelphia City Hall. Photo credit Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The City of Philadelphia has set a new record for overtime payments, according to the state agency that oversees the city budget.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority said in its latest report that the city spent more than $213 million on overtime in the last fiscal year.

“2022’s overtime is the highest that we’ve seen, and we’ve been tracking it for 11, 12 years,” said PICA Executive Director Harvey Rice.

He said public safety departments spend the most. According to Rice, the Philadelphia Police Department spent almost $12 million more in overtime than last year. The Fire Department and Department of Prisons spent about $5 million more each.

The city also spent $4.9 million more on overtime pay than it did in the pandemic-ridden fiscal year of 2020, a 2.4% increase.

The Kenney administration declined an interview request, but emailed a statement from Philadelphia Finance Director Rob Dubow. He said that due to high attrition rates and labor market challenges, the city is operating with 1,400 fewer employees than two years ago.

Rice said that doesn’t explain why the city outspent what it budgeted for overtime by $28 million.

“They knew there was a labor shortage, and they’re still incurring these overtime costs … that’s part of it, but I don’t think it tells the whole picture of overtime costs increasing year after year after year,” said Rice.

“That sends red flags to us of how they can’t do a better job of managing overtime.”

Rice said PICA can only continue to highlight the problem and hope the city can rein in the costs. Dubow’s statement did not say how the city plans to address the shortage.

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