Overtime pay may be putting a dent in state's furlough savings
Furloughs are expected to save the state $1.2 billion this fiscal year.
But last year some workers more than offset those cuts with increased overtime.
March 06, 2010|By Patrick McGreevy
Reporting from Sacramento — Like many other state employees, prison nurse Nellie Larot was hit last year with furloughs that cut her salary: It dropped $10,000, to $92,000.
But she more than made up for it by working extra shifts, raking in $177,512 in overtime, according to state records. Her total $270,000 in earnings last year eclipsed the $225,000 paid to Matthew Cate, head of the entire state prison system.
The total overtime paid in 2009 actually dropped slightly, by $64 million from the year before. But it was up from the $808 million paid in 2005 and $598 million in 2004.
"People want more money," said Larot. The furloughs, which began in February 2009, cut her monthly pay by many hundreds of dollars. Without overtime, she said, "it would be a hardship."
Records show that the top 50 recipients of overtime last year each received more than $100,000 in extra compensation. Most were from the departments of corrections and mental health, which account for more than half of the overtime doled out by state agencies; 35 of the top 50 were registered nurses.
Other top earners include prison guard Lt. Randall Rowland, who collected $133,000 in overtime pay, and California Highway Patrol Officer Kerry Comphel, who received $127,000.
Overtime Pay Article | Overtime pay may be putting a dent in state's furlough savings - Los Angeles Times