Resolution tackles city overtime spending

Baltimore & Region

December 08, 2005|By JOHN FRITZE | JOHN FRITZE,SUN REPORTER

Directors of nine Baltimore agencies would be required to explain over-budget spending to the City Council under a resolution expected to be introduced today.

Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr., who is sponsoring the measure, said he is frustrated with agencies that request emergency funds in addition to their budget at the end of each fiscal year.

That extra money is often used to pay for overtime.

"I want to make sure there's some accountability within the agencies," Harris said. "It's important that we make sure we're maximizing and utilizing our resources appropriately."

City managers have spent $12.9 million in overtime from July 1 through Oct. 31 this year, more than three-quarters of the $16 million that is supposed to last through spring.

The proposal, which will be introduced at the council's final meeting of the year today, will not be voted on until next year.

The resolution requires directors of the police, fire and public works departments, among others, to appear before the council.

City officials have said that paying overtime is often less expensive than hiring more workers - especially given increased costs of health insurance.

In some cases, those officials have said, high overtime is the result of vacancies. Vacant positions reduce overall spending and can help offset overtime costs.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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