Madison County Commission fighting overtime pay - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Madison County Commission fighting overtime pay

By Elizabeth Gentle - bio | email

MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - There are excessive amounts of employee overtime being shelled out by the Madison County Commission.

One commissioner is vowing to put an end to the excess we found.

Literally hundreds of employees have racked up lots of overtime, some raking in thousands of dollars of what county leaders are calling questionable pay.

We've poured over the figures and found where overtime costs forced the county to pay out around 2 million dollars in one year.

There are even employees who have taken home twice their salary in overtime alone.

We are getting answers on where this wasteful spending is coming from, and what's being done to stop it.

"Right now with what is going on its a detent to this county," said Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong.

Commissioner Strong is fed up with spending millions of taxpayer dollars on overtime.

"We are not trying to reinvent the wheel we are trying to make sure our employees are working the appropriate hours they are supposed to be," said Strong.

Commissioner Faye Dyer called those employees on the carpet when she pulled out this highlighted overtime log which she said proves some employees are taking advantage of the system.

"I don't buy 50 hours of overtime by this person last pay period. I'm sorry this is not happening," said Commissioner Dyer.

The county commission quickly put all department heads on alert to hold employees accountable for every extra dollar spent.

All I had to do was take a good look at the numbers to see why.

A 2 week log from November shows where the largest chunk of overtime was spent.

The sheriff's department accumulated 1, 443 hours at a cost of just over $38,000. You heard right, thirty eight grand in two weeks.

Their year-to-date total for that time period was in excess of $450,000.

2 sheriff's department employees were making well over 20-thousand dollars just in overtime.

"For the amount of overtime paid by the sheriff's department we could have paid 16 more deputies to patrol the streets," said Dyer.

Another big cost to the county has been the Huntsville/Madison Metro Jail.

The grand total some-$80 million dollars to build.

Plus it isn't cheap to operate, especially when the majority of the money is going to paying overtime.

A jailer who, at the time this log was printed, had pulled in $31,000 in overtime.

Another with a close second with $27, 382. That isn't their salary, that is their overtime pay on top of their salary.

Chief Deputy Steve Morrison is the new jail administrator.

When he came on board four months ago, overtime spending was at nearly 1-million dollars.

But not anymore.

"We've cut it nearly 80-percent at this point," said Jail Administrator Steve Morrison.

Sheriff Dorning says his departments overtime is due to a staff shortage, and he says he's working to curb overtime where possible, but adds that isn't always possible.

Now that you know the numbers, you may be wondering what the commission plans to do to hold county department heads accountable for the funds they spend.

We've found the answer and there won't be any question about hours worked and time paid.

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