New report shows Erie County tops most New York counties in COVID-19 overtime expenses

Posted at 10:03 AM, Sep 23, 2020

Erie County appears to be outspending other New York counties in COVID-19 overtime.

According to a reportfrom the Erie County Comptroller's office, Erie County has paid a total of $942,664 in overtime to managerial confidential employees, compared to a combined total of $45,515 from the counties who responded to the office's inquiries.

The Office of Erie County Comptroller reached out to all 62 counties in New York State to ask how much money in overtime has been paid to any managerial confidential (MC) employee in any position since the federal government provided CARES Act funding to local municipalities to address COVID issues. 52 of those counties contacted responded.

“To put that in context, there are five managerial confidential employees in Erie County that collected more in overtime than all other county political employees across New York State combined,” said Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

Tompkins, Niagara, Saratoga, and Clinton Counties have not yet responded to inquiries from the Office of Erie County Comptroller, nor has New York City, which has five counties within its borders but with no functioning county governments. As such, those counties are subject to the jurisdiction of New York City.

In each case, county representatives were asked if they were paying managerial confidential employees overtime to address COVID-related issues, if the Health Commissioner was being compensated additionally for working on COVID concerns, and if so, how much.

Of the 52 responding counties, only Greene County has paid overtime to their health commissioner; a total of $3,100. To date, Erie County paid $115,133 in overtime to its Health Commissioner. Erie County paid nearly three times the amount in overtime to its Health Commissioner as 52 other counties paid in total to all MC employees for COVID related issues. “It’s important to keep lawmakers informed about how Erie County is spending these federal funds. We are not casting aspersions on any Erie County employee. They have done phenomenal work during this pandemic. My job is to share fiscal data with our partners in government. Hopefully this data will help guide them in their management and decision making going forward,” concluded Comptroller Mychajliw.

We have reached out to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein for their reaction, and are waiting to hear back.