in Houston, Texas
State overtime totals $122 million last year; 5 of top 10 OT earners in Governor’s security detail
Monday, Aug 13, 2012, 02:35PM CST
By Curt Olson
Guard

Overtime fueled the $3.7 million cost of security for Gov. Rick Perry’s run for president.

A Department of Public Safety sergeant in the governor’s security detail earned $65,143.36 in overtime, more than his actual annual salary of $64,401.96, a study of all overtime earned by state employees in 2011 by the Houston Chronicle shows.

The top two and five of the top 10 overtime earners in the state are members of the DPS Executive Protective Bureau, which generated a total of $499,000 in overtime last year, the Chronicle reported.

They were among 1,988 state employees who earned at least $10,000 in overtime in 2011. In all, 56,948 employees ran up $122 million in overtime, the Chronicle analysis shows.

The state auditor’s office reported in January the state carried 310,865.4 full time positions in the first quarter of 2012, compared to 318,814.2 employee positions in the first quarter of 2011

Food stamp and Medicaid application backlogs resulted in $27.8 million in overtime for employees of the Health and Human Services Commission, the highest amount of overtime for a state agency, the newspaper reported.

The overtime suggests that Health and Human Services staffers haven’t quite gotten on top of a food stamp problem identified by the state Auditor and reported on by Texas Watchdog more than two years ago.

While many taxpayers have come to expect overtime for state correction officers, the Department of Criminal Justice submitted a bill for $15.4 million in overtime for its Texas Correctional Industries.

Five “skilled craft workers,” employees who assist the building and installation of furniture for government and school buildings by inmates, earned more than $26,000 each in overtime, nearly matching their annual salaries, the newspaper reported.

“The installers, along with offenders, often are traveling long distances and working irregular hours to complete jobs,” TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark told the Chronicle.

Not everyone is traveling a long way, but as the data shows the abundant irregularity in the hours pays off for state workers.

***

Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of Guard by flickr user npmeijer, used via a Creative Commons license.

 

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