Pols Take Aim at Overtime 'Abuse' in State's Prisons

 

    BY Michael J. Feeney
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


    Monday, February 1st 2010, 4:00 AM


    The state Correctional Services Department
    could save cash-strapped New York more
    than $15 million by cutting overtime and
    reducing other "rampant mismanagement,"
    two state lawmakers charged.


    State Sens. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Diane
    Savino (D-S.I.) cited overtime as the
    agency's biggest money pit in a report
    analyzing costs at prisons.


    Ten employees split close to $900,000 in
    OT, the report said.


    "We found a tremendous amount of abuse
    [in overtime]," Klein said yesterday outside 
    Gov. Paterson's office.


    The Daily News reported last week that the
    state OT queen is Mercy Mathew, a nurse
    at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in 
    Westchester County who worked 2,551
     hours of overtime in 2009 - the equivalent
    of about 64 extra workweeks. She made a
    total of more than $200,000.


    The department spent 2.1% less on OT last
    year than in 2008, but it remained the
    state agency that paid out the most
    overtime - $91.8 million in 2009.


    "Some of it is unavoidable because they run
    24-7 facilities; however, a lot of it is
    discretionary overtime," Savino said. "It
    shows rampant mismanagement and an
    inability to manage your staff."


    As The News reported yesterday, the
    report also details how at least eight prison
    superintendents live in low-cost state-
    owned mansions located on or near prison
    premises.


    Morgan Hook, a spokesman for Gov.
    Paterson, called the report "flat-out wrong."


    "Gov. Paterson has been reducing costs in
    the corrections system since 2008,
    amounting to nearly $150 million in each of
    the last two years," Hook said.