HUBBARD Be more prudent about overtime, council urges department heads

The city paid more than $200,000 in overtime last year.
HUBBARD -- Some city council members called on department heads to watch the cost of employee overtime.
"I don't think we're unreasonable people here," council president John Darko told department heads during a council work session Wednesday.
Darko made his comments because of an article in The Vindicator's Feb. 14 editions about overtime pay to city workers.
The article pointed out that some city workers received additional pay of a third to a half of their regular wages in overtime last year.
The city paid $202,695 in overtime in 2001.
Water department: Darko was especially critical of the water department, which had exhausted its budget overtime by late last summer or early fall in 2001.
By the time legislation could be prepared to transfer money for the expense, it was being spent, Darko explained.
The council president said there is no reason for department budgets to go into the red. Mayor George Praznik agreed.
Darko told department heads that overtime shouldn't be allowed to balloon.
In response: Kenneth Graban, superintendent of water and sewage, told lawmakers the water department has been involved in additional projects and that workers must be called out for emergencies.
Joe Slick, lighting department superintendent, agreed with Graban that emergencies can't be avoided.
Council members told department heads they expect them to respond to emergencies.
"I'm just asking you to be a little proactive here," Darko asserted.
"Why do we prepare a budget?" asked Councilman William Williams, D-at large, noting overtime requirements should be budgeted the first of the year.
Budget procedure: Darko said he wants quarterly budget meetings to make changes during the year rather than at year's end.
City auditor Michael Villano said the city will begin preparing quarterly budgets and asked department heads to keep track of what they have been allocated.
Councilman Richard Keenan, D-4th, who has called the use of overtime absurd, asked why electric power to individual properties goes out, especially on the weekends.
Slick said winds loosen connections to individual homes at times and can't be controlled.

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