in Houston, Texas
Fort Worth employees boost pay - and possibly future pension earnings - with OT
Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 10:16AM CST
By Steve Miller
time clock

Sixty-five Fort Worth city employees earned at least $20,000 in overtime last year, according to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The top 10 earners of the extra pay were police department employees, including an officer who kicked his pay up 68 percent with the extra shifts.

Here’s the list of those picking up the extra public pay.

As the story wisely points out, a city employee's pension pay is based on his or her largest three years of pay. Often, employees will juice their hours as they head toward retirement and are usually at their highest pay level.

The 68 percenter is officer Howard A. Tokheim, who pulled in more than $52,000 in OT last year on top of his annual salary of  $77,292.80. Well, at least we can be sure he earned it on the mean streets of the city. What’s that? Howard actually works in the commercial vehicle unit of Fort Worth’s finest.

That’s explained by Fort Worth police Maj. Paul Henderson, who first told the S-T that paring back the overtime for cops is tough because "the majority of the officers on the top-earners list are assigned to various task forces and traffic enforcement units that utilize grant or federal funds to pay for overtime. These assignments require specialized certifications and special federal task force agent designations, which limit the pool of personnel capable to work these special enforcement details."

But for commercial vehicle enforcement?

"It is a challenging task attempting to provide safety on our roadways with limited enforcement experts while being awarded grant funding to pay for overtime to do just that, provide safe roadways," Henderson told the S-T. Actually, though, the police do a good job of keeping the city safe; it was declared among the safest in the U.S. in an annual ranking a few years back.

And it’s easy to consider Fort Worth as doing some paltry padding of the pension; according to a 2010 report in Houston, 714 police officers and fire department employees received over $20 Gs in OT.  According to records obtained by Texas Watchdog, Houston PD officers received overtime for work in some tough spots last year, including River Oaks and assignments for Halliburton and Akin Gump.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of time clock by flickr user Providence Public Library, used via a Creative Commons license.

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