Overtime, comp time up since furloughs

RENO — Overtime and compensatory time have increased in more than two dozen agencies since Nevada lawmakers imposed unpaid furloughs on state workers to save money, according to a newspaper analysis.

The Reno Gazette-Journal analysis said that in the six months following the implementation of furloughs in July, some agencies have doubled or even quadrupled overtime compared to the previous six months.

Overtime payments at Secretary of State Ross Miller’s office increased 429 percent since furloughs were imposed compared to the two quarters before.

And overtime at Controller Kim Wallin’s office increased nearly 400 percent.

Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, said lawmakers have been hearing from employees in some state agencies that there’s a trend of people replacing furlough hours with overtime.

“That needs to be stopped,” she said.

State officials said overtime varies based on workload and seasons. They said the increase isn’t only because of furloughs. All but seven of the agencies had a decrease in overtime compared with the first two quarters of fiscal year 2009. And total overtime is down about 4 percent.

Facing a $3 billion shortfall, lawmakers last year imposed a 12-day unpaid furlough for each year of the two-year budget cycle in an effort to save $194 million.

Under the plan, workers aren’t allowed overtime in the same pay period as a furlough. But more than 3,700 positions, some because of public safety concerns, have been granted exemptions.

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