The Montgomery County Office of Legislative Oversight released a report Tuesday that found that the majority of more than $63 million in county overtime costs from January 2011 to June 2012 was paid to police and fire agencies and that a significant amount of the extra pay was the result of sick-leave abuse.
The study, "Employee Work Hours and Leave in Montgomery County," revealed the county paid $63.3 million in overtime to 6,789 county employees.
Montgomery County Councilman George L. Leventhal (D-At Large) of Takoma Park described the findings as a “wake-up call to management” and told The Washington Post “someone has to rein in those costs."
The study found that approximately 70 percent of the overtime was generated by fire and police agencies. The Post said the report's data showed “significant evidence that overtime and sick-leave policies are abused.”
Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers told The Post “there are not enough relief firefighters to fill vacancies at regular pay rates,” and “we wouldn’t need the overtime if we had proper staffing relief.”
The report found county employees worked an average of 1,727 hours (or approximately 83 percent of the 2,087 hours the U.S Office of Personnel uses to calculate pay rates) and used 404 hours of leave.
Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg told The Post: “The bottom line here is that for every five hours that the county taxpayers pay for, employees are working about four of these.”