San Francisco Supervisors Seek To Slow Spiraling Overtime Costs

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(AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Several San Francisco supervisors have called for a closer look at the city’s overtime spending, which has been projected in the range of $102 million this year alone – a whopping $40 million over budget.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

For the past several years, elected officials have worked to reduce overtime costs, but at Thursday’s Board of Supervisors Audit and Oversight Committee meeting, supervisor David Campos suggested a working group needed to be formed to more aggressively deal with the problem.

“I would rather have a realistic budget and one that actually tries to attain the appropriate level of staffing instead of trying to rely on overtime,” he reasoned.

Five departments – Police, Fire, Health, Muni and Sheriff – account for most of the city’s unbridled overtime. One of the arguments made on behalf of the overtime spending has been that the OT is still cheaper than hiring additional workers, though supervisor David Chiu pointed out that the system, quite simply, wasn’t supposed to work that way.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to us that we can’t seem to get our hands around how to keep these costs contained,” Chiu declared. “And after three years of overtime coming down it looks like we are heading in the wrong direction.”

Chiu was referring to a recent report by San Francisco’s controller, which spelled out the OT problem.

Campos, who called Thursday’s hearing, ultimately proposed a closer look at an across-the-board ban on any OT spending that had not already been appropriated.

“It’s not enough to do it on an individual department basis,” he said. “I think that we need to do it as a city collectively thinking about what this means for our budget,” he said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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