State government overtime spending remains on a $250 million pace through the third quarter of fiscal 2020.
Agencies spent $188.1 million on overtime through March 31, a 3.8% increase over the same period last year according to the legislature's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
If that pace holds up through the final quarter of the year, 2020 agency overtime spending will reach the second highest level on record.
Overtime spending peaked at $256.1 million in 2015, falling over the next two years to $219 million in 2016 and a record low of $204.4 million in 2017.
Costs have soared since, hitting $228.2 million in 2018 and $234.4 million last fiscal year.
As overtime is allowed as a factor in calculating state employee pensions, the failure to control those costs drives up Connecticut's long-term liabilities.
Pension fund liabilities topped a staggering $34 billion in 2018 against assets of $13 billion for a funding ratio of just 38%—one of the worst of any state.
Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||FY 2020 Overtime*||FY 2019 Overtime**||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$58.83 million||$59.45 million||($570,669)||-1%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$43.99 million||$40.23 million||$3.76 million||9.4%|
|Developmental Services||$30.9 million||$30.58 million||$418,861||1.4%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$24.88 million||$21.52 million||$3.36 million||15.6%|
|Children & Families||$16.71 million||$16.87 million||($158,499)||-0.9%|
*Through March 31, 2020. **Through March 31, 2019. Source: State Office of Fiscal Analysis.
State agencies spent $63.2 million in overtime in the third quarter, a 13% jump over the previous quarter.
While it's premature to understand the impact the state's coronavirus pandemic response will have on the final 2020 numbers, the third quarter report offers some insight.
The five agencies that account for over 93% of all state overtime spending saw large increases in the third quarter.
The departments of Correction, Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Developmental Services each posted 54% spending increases this past quarter.
Quarterly overtime spending rose 53% at the Department of Children and Families and 31% at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
Year to date overtime costs are down 1% at the Department of Correction, which typically leads all agencies.
DCF has cut year-to-date costs 0.9% over 2019, while overtime is up 15.6% at DESPP, 9.4% at DMHAS, and 1.4% at DDS.
The number of state employees paid overtime through March decreased by 47 from the same period in 2019 to 17,384. They were paid an average $10,820 each.
DESPP employees, which includes state police, were paid an average $21,032 in overtime, the highest of any agency.
DMHAS paid an average $19,003 to 2,3115 employees, 2,019 DDS workers averaged payouts of $15,302, 4,991 DOC workers averaged $11,786, and 2,419 DCF employees took an average $6,910.
Overtime costs declined at 20 agencies and increased at 19.