Connecticut state overtime spending is on pace to hit almost a quarter of a billion dollars this fiscal year, the second highest on record.
Agencies spent $56 million on overtime in the second quarter of the year, 6% higher than the same period last year.
The legislature's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis reports overtime cost agencies $124.9 million through the first half of the year, 4.1% more than the first half of 2019.
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.
Overtime spending has significant short-term and long-term fiscal implications for the state.
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 $13 billion for a funding ratio of just 38%—one of the worst of any state.
"The pattern of overtime spending is trending in the wrong direction," says CBIA's Eric Gjede.
"The focus we saw on controlling overtime costs in 2016 and 2017 seems to have vanished and that has significant consequences for the state's fiscal stability."
Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||FY 2020 Overtime||FY 2019 Overtime||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$38.23 million||$38.2 million||$29,081||0.1%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$28.64 million||$25.74 million||$2.9 million||11.3%|
|Developmental Services||$20 million||$20.14 million||($128,426)||-0.6%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$18.93 million||$16.53 million||$2.4 million||14.5%|
|Children & Families||$10.9 million||$11.12 million||($188,685)||-1.7%|
Source: State Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Just five of the state's agencies account for 93% of all overtime costs.
Two of those agencies—the departments of Developmental Services and Children and Families—reduced overtime costs over last year while the Department of Correction was essentially unchanged.
Spending jumped 14.5% to $18.9 million at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and 11.3% or $28.6 million at Mental Health and Addiction Services.
DCF cut overtime costs 1.7% or ($188,685) while DDS spent $20 million, down 0.6% over the first half of fiscal 2019.
DOC continues to lead all agencies, spending $38.2 million (up 0.1%) on overtime through the first half of the fiscal year.
The $124.9 million spent in the first half of fiscal 2020 was paid out to 16,422 state employees—114 more than the first half of 2019—at an average of $2,327 each.
The 1,139 DESSP employees who took overtime received an average $16,620 each, the highest of any agency.
DMHAS paid an average $12,965 in overtime to 2,209 employees, 1,947 DDS workers got average payouts of $10,279, and 4,728 DOC workers each took an average $8,084.
A total of 2,367 DCF workers were paid an average $4,616.
Overtime costs increased at 24 agencies and declined at 15.