With labor deal concluded, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told his agency chiefs Tuesday that he plans to crack down on overtime abuse — particularly the kind that pads pensions — and he expects them to help.
“We’ve got to be mindful of overtime and the impact that it has psychologically on our employee base, as well the reaction of our taxpayers to it,” said Malloy. “As well as the impact, over a long period of time, on our pensions.”
Beginning in September, the names of state employees who receive overtime in excess of 50 percent of their base pay will be reported to Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes.
In the past month, 2,000 state employees made at least half as much in overtime as they did in regular pay. Over the fiscal year at least seven state agencies accrued about $224 million in overtime.
Barnes said he understands that state agencies are different and some rack up more overtime than others based on what they do. Those that service clients 24-hours a day are more likely to accrue overtime. He told the commissioners Tuesday that each agency will be evaluated on an individual basis and new goals will be set.
“This is a management tool,” Malloy said. “This is then going to cause each and every one of you to ask your managers why this is happening.”
Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, called on Malloy in June to crack down on overtime.
Reacting to reports of overtime abuse by the Hartford Courant, McKinney has said the administration has to clamp down and stop policies that encourage public employees to game the system at taxpayer expense.
He said overtime abuse can “undermine the public trust in state government and cast all state employees in a bad light.”
Malloy never disagreed.
“You have got to drive efficiencies in all of your agencies,” Malloy said. “I will work with you to maintain appropriate levels of employment inside your agencies.”
The governor added that he has never hidden the fact that he thinks “we have too many layers in many of our agencies of management, some of which count up to nine. That is simply unacceptable.”
While that may be true, after investigating government efficiencies the legislature never followed through on a recommendation by the Commission on Enhancing Agency Outcomes to eliminate managers and to reduce the ratio of managers to employees. If the state’s ratio of managers to employees was reduced to one manager for every 10 employees, the state could save about $119 million, according to the final report.
State employees feel the governor hasn’t acted quick enough to reduce the levels of non-union management. At a press conference announcing the ratification of the labor deal it was one of the first things they said the governor needed to address.
About 78 managers were laid off after the first labor deal fell through and the Malloy administration combed through the budget to find $1.6 billion in savings over the next two years without the concession package. Apparently, the exercise was not a waste of time.
“I believe those separations should continue,” Malloy said. “You have to drive efficiency and you have to demonstrate your willingness to drive efficiency, by driving down your own management ranks. It’s a hard message to be delivered. It’s a hard message to accept.“