There's the old adage that if you don't measure it, you can't manage it.

Case in point: The use of state employee overtime.

By all accounts, the state of Connecticut has a miserable track record when it comes to fiscal management. This has a direct impact on business confidence and investment in our state.

One of the most egregious of all the fiscal problems is the overuse of state employee overtime.

Overuse—and in some cases abuse—pads pensions, increases sick time, and basically exposes management control weaknesses.

One indicator that this has become the norm in state government is that Connecticut actually budgets for over $230 million in overtime per fiscal year.

Legislators of every political stripe are increasingly complaining about this.

And so, in last December’s special session, the legislature ordered the Office of Fiscal Analysis to gather and report on overtime usage by agency.

One of the most egregious of all the fiscal problems is the overuse of state employee overtime.
The first report was disconcerting, predicting the state would exceed high 2015 overtime numbers.

But, voila! OFA's just-released report showed a surprising drop of over $33 million in usage from projections.

It also showed declines of over 9% (down to 23%) in four of the top five agency users of overtime.

Despite state employee layoffs, the Department of Corrections saw an overtime decrease of $19 million, Developmental Services saw a reduction of $5 million, Emergency Services (State Police) dropped by $2 million, and Children and Families overtime use fell $3 million in 2016 versus the previous fiscal year.

Only the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is among the big overtime users not to show a serious reduction.

So, shine a light on a problem and sometimes people will decide, "Boy, we had better do something."

It's only a start, but one that is very much needed.

Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.