Memphis taxpayers paid $101 million in overtime over 5-year peri - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis taxpayers paid $101 million in overtime over 5-year period

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The Memphis Police Department had the costliest overtime at $57 million over the course of five years. The Memphis Police Department had the costliest overtime at $57 million over the course of five years.
The Memphis Fire Department had the second highest overtime cost at $37 million for the same time period. The Memphis Fire Department had the second highest overtime cost at $37 million for the same time period.
An overtime analysis shows 94 percent of the city's overtime costs come from the fire and police departments. An overtime analysis shows 94 percent of the city's overtime costs come from the fire and police departments.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A two-year study reveals that $101 million is how much money was spent on overtime for Memphis employees over a five-year period.

Why is so much money being spent on overtime in the City of Memphis? What is the city planning to do about it?

A financial analysis of the city's operations say more cuts are the remedy. But others argue that fewer positions will lead to more overtime.

This budget season, the City of Memphis will take a hard look at overtime to remedy the city's ailing budget.

"We've paid for this strategic financial plan and we're putting the medicine out there," said Mayor A C Wharton.

An overtime analysis shows 94 percent of the city's overtime costs come from the fire and police departments.

The Memphis Police Department had the costliest overtime at $57 million over the course of five years.

The Memphis Fire Department had the second highest overtime cost at $37 million for the same time period.

The unions say staffing cuts are the culprit.

For instance, each fire truck requires a certain number of people to operate. The union says a smaller staff means their only backup for firefighters out on leave is to have people come in on their days off, resulting in overtime.

"We said this when they were making cuts, Kontji, that this would impact public safety and the only way we have left to do it is through overtime," said Memphis Fire Association President Thomas Malone.

It was pointed out that there is little overtime anywhere else because when most government employees take leave, their work waits until they come back or others help to pick up the slack.

That is not possible for emergency responders.

The unions think the answer is to bring public safety back up to its former staffing complement.

Meanwhile, the city is considering cuts to low-workload fire stations and to use more civilian workers for police duties that do not require uniformed officers.

Memphis City Council members are reviewing the recommendations and the overtime issue will be hashed out in the coming months.

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