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Undetermined changes to overtime pay policy for county employees

“So we need to make sure we do our diligence in analyzing all of this data that we requested and understand any potential change."
Posted at 11:39 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-21 23:39:40-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Erie County leaders weighing in on changing the overtime pay policy for county employees as this issue have been up in the air for months.

Erie County Comptroller Kevin Hardwick wants county legislatures to revisit the county’s overtime pay policy because the policy lets political appointees collect a high amount of overtime pay.

“The current policy now says it’s not state emergencies they get overtime whenever after they accumulate over 200 hours of comp time,” Hardwick says. “ At the end of the year, 80 hours of that will roll over the next year and then get a check for whatever is left so this policy that has evolved, and I think we need to examine it.”

Erie County Legislature Lisa Chimera realized that the old policy didn’t meet current needs a year into the pandemic.

She says Hardwick needs more information.

“And then we want a report by MC’s that would address overtime pre-pandemic, starting 2018. Overtime and comp time during the pandemic and where we are right now,” she says.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz couldn’t be reached, but his office released a statement saying:

“A salary study should be performed, by a qualified entity, to determine an appropriate level of compensation for high-level policymakers. The salary study should be based on comparable sized counties in the United States.”

Chimera emphasized the importance of how diligent this situation in reviewing and changing the overtime pay policy will have on many.

“So we need to make sure we do our diligence in analyzing all of this data that we requested and understand any potential change and the implication that it has,” Chimera says.

Erie County Legislature Minority Leader Joe Lorigo says the focus should also lean towards reviewing any abuse of the overtime system.

“I think we need to look at the overtime that was paid during the pandemic because I think it’s certainly possessive that there was abuse that occurred,” he says. “I also want to look at the cash payments that were made in 2021 because I think those were abused as well.”

Hardwick says he invited legislatures, the county executive, and other stakeholders to meet at his office next week Wednesday to have an open discussion about the overtime policy.