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Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 3:02am

Augusta Official Suggests Monitoring Pay

Updated: 4 years ago.
Some Augusta officials question overtime for city employees while others say it's economical. (Photo by Amber Rhea and courtesy of flickr)

City employees in Augusta racked up $3 million dollars in overtime last year. Some officials are concerned about the pay, while others say it's economical.

Augusta Commissioner Joe Bowles has some questions about overtime in some departments, and wants more accountability to prevent fraud and waste, perhaps reducing overtime pay.

He says Augusta should consider an updated system of filing time cards and periodic reviews from department heads.

"I think that’s something that we need to look at quarterly when we get our budgets and year to date actual numbers from our financial statements...look at and get an update from the staff on how the overtime’s been curtailed," says Bowles.

But officials say overtime can be economical.

Sheriff’s deputies, as well as public works and utility employees, typically work overtime. Officials say paying that overtime likely saves money, and that otherwise, local government agencies would have to pay more in salaries and benefits.

"There are a lot of on-call issues a lot of emergency issues," says Fred Russell. "The snow we had a couple of weeks ago, it's something we have to do deal with."

Russell adds that the overtime makes up about half a percent of the budget. He also says the commission has looked at the issue on a case by case basis and in some instances, like with the city's fire department, overtime is not the best choice.

Procedures on overtime pay vary from county to county, although like Augusta, cities such as Macon and Savannah pay millions in overtime each year.

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