Hubbard mayor: Council just doesn't get it

HUBBARD — Mayor Arthur Magee has taken issue with plans by council to cut overtime spending here by 10 percent.

Council met earlier this week to discuss budgetary concerns with several city leaders, saying departments have routinely overspent their budgets, with the expectation that the city will make up for overages at year’s end.

Each department will be budgeted 10 percent less to cover overtime expenses than in 2006.

The city spent about $303,000 in overtime last year.

Magee said council members are trying to regulate something that they do not completely understand. He said such regulations should be left up to the board of control — the mayor, service director and safety director.

“We are a service business. Demands for service dictates overtime. Our people don’t abuse overtime. We work when we are called out to work,” he said. “They are trying to micro-manage the operations of the city, and that is not their job.”

As an example, Magee points to a waterline break on Grandview Avenue earlier this week requiring some water department employees to work overtime. He said such situations are unavoidable.

“That required our people to go out and work overtime in freezing water up to their knees,” he said. “How do you cut that by 10 percent?”

According to council, the police department spent about $77,000 in overtime in 2006. The police department had been budgeted $55,000 for overtime expenses.

Magee said the city could eliminate all overtime costs in the police department by hiring two additional police officers. He said hiring those two officers, however, would cost the city about $120,000 annually — an amount considerably higher than the $77,000 spent in overtime for that department last year.

The mayor said council should just let the board of control do its job. “The employees work for the board of control, not council,” Magee said.

Magee said the board of control is available to council at any time to answer questions.

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