In The News › Two S&WB employees earn almost $100K in OT

Jul 22, 2010

Source: Fox 8 News

Filed under: Government Finance, Orleans Parish

Two S&WB employees earn almost $100K in OT

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Reported by Lee Zurik
Fox 8 News

The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board’s power generation and distribution site generates some eye-catching expenditures for the agency.

“Overtime is a significant expense for us,” the agency’s Executive Director Marcia St. Martin said.

So significant that two engineers who worked at the steam plant earned more than $90,000 each in overtime last year alone.

“To have overtime at these rates is a red flag that something needs to be evaluated,” St. Martin said.

Steam plant engineer Cleveland Butler made the most in overtime last year. He earned $93,150.96. Butler made more in overtime than his base salary, which was $59,101.74. He also earned $19,005.06 in stand-by money. All totaled, he made $171,257.76 last year. That made him the third highest paid employee at the Sewerage and Water Board.

“It is shocking when you have an employee making $171,000 when his base salary is $59,000,” Janet Howard of the Bureau of Governmental Research said. “What is going on there? That’s almost triple the base salary. Something is out of whack.”

Butler worked about 2,200 hours of overtime last year. That’s an average of 42 hours of overtime per week.

“Are we really working these people 80 hours a week,” Councilmember and Sewerage and Water Board member Jackie Clarkson said. “And if we are, is that smart?”

Leo Beaulieu earned $91,834.99 in overtime last year. That’s second most.

He had $22,094.76 in stand-by pay, making his total take home pay $186,396.37 for last year. That made him the second highest paid employee at the Sewerage and water Board, second most to the director Marcia St. Martin.

Beaulieu had a 2009 base salary of $72,466.62 but with his stand-by and overtime, he was not only the second highest paid employee at the Sewerage and Water board, but the second highest paid person in city government.

When we compared the Sewerage and Water Board compensation to City Hall’s, it shows Beaulieu out earned the city’s EMS Director, Chief Administrative Officer, Fire Chief, Police Chief, City Attorney, Health Director, Airport Director, and the Mayor.

“We definitely need to hire more steam plant engineers and train more people,” St. Martin said.

According to the Sewerage and Water Board, the agency is down about 200 employees since Katrina. St. Martin says they’ll add about 20 more this year, which should reduce overtime.

“While we say thank you for doing a good job and thank you for being available, it’s not how we want to continue to do the operation,” St. Martin said.

All total, 21 S&WB employees made more money in overtime than their base salary.

And it’s not just steam plant engineers working the extra hours.

A pumping stations supervisor earned $58,558, a water purification operator earned $56,840, and a quality assurance and safety inspector $53,813.

And most of those employees also earned several thousand dollars in stand-by time. That’s when an employee is available to report to a job site with limited notice.

“You may be called in so you’re available if there is a need that is unexpected you need to respond to that,” St. Martin said.

The pay rate for stand-by time is blended. It’s some straight time and some overtime.

The head of the Sewerage and Water Board said the agency doesn’t budget for overtime. It’s included in general compensation. The board went over budget in that category last year because of all of the overtime.

Jul 22, 2010

Source: Fox 8 News

Filed under: Government Finance, Orleans Parish

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