New York state agencies paid nearly $787 million in overtime for more than 18 million extra hours worked by state employees in 2018, according to a new report released Thursday by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The Democrat said overtime earnings last year rose by $25.7 million, or 3.4%, to $786.9 million, the highest level within the past decade. Total overtime earnings in 2009 clocked in at more than $442 million, the report said.
The average number of state employees decreased slightly last year to nearly 156,000, or 12% lower than in 2009, according to the report. That total doesn’t include employees of the State University of New York and the City University of New York. Those public university systems employed 70,757 and 27,929 in 2018, respectively, the report said.
According to DiNapoli’s report, the agencies with the most overtime last year were the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the Office of Mental Health.
All three agencies operate institutional facilities that require round-the-clock staffing. Of last year’s total overtime hours, DOCCS accounted for 28.4%, followed by OPWDD at 18.1% and Mental Health at 13.8%, the report said.
“As the state confronts increasingly high costs for overtime, New York needs to find ways to better manage costs while providing taxpayers with critical services,” DiNapoli said.
He said other agencies with large increases in overtime since 2009 include the state police, the Office of General Services and the Department of Transportation.
DOCCS, which includes 54 state prisons, had nearly 29,800 employees last year, the most of any state agency, according to the report. Next was OPWDD with nearly 20,600, followed by the state courts system with more than 16,700.