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

Diane J. Savino

BY Michael J. Feeney

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

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.