Connecticut state government agencies spent $67 million on overtime in the first quarter of this fiscal year, $17 million more than in the prior three months.
The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis' latest quarterly report shows overtime spending was 6% higher than the first quarter of fiscal 2018, and is on pace to hit a record high $268 million for fiscal 2019.
Overtime costs have climbed steadily since 2017, following two years of marked declines after hitting an all-time high of $256.1 million in fiscal 2015.
Last year state agencies spent $228.2 million on overtime, a 12% jump over the previous year.
Overtime spending has significant short-term and long-term fiscal implications for the state, which faces multibillion dollar budget deficits in coming years.
Long-Term Fiscal Health
In addition, as overtime is allowed as a factor in calculating state employee pensions, the failure to control those costs drives up the state's long-term liabilities.
A new Mercatus Center report ranks Connecticut's fiscal health 49th in the country, with the state's $121.65 billion in unfunded pension liabilities playing a major role in that ranking.
CBIA's Louise DiCocco said Connecticut's next governor will need to find ways to control spiraling overtime costs to help address the state's overall fiscal challenges.
"While the size of the state's workforce has decreased in recent years, those overall state agency cost savings cannot be offset by increased overtime spending," she said.
"It's critical that our next governor focuses on reducing the size and cost of government, including exploring the privatization of appropriate services, expanding the use of nonprofit agencies, and directing state agencies to become more efficient."
First Quarter 2019 Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||Q1 FY 2019 Overtime||Q1 FY 2018 Overtime||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$21.47 million||$19.42 million||$2.05 million||10.6%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$14.02 million||$14.11 million||($91,394)||-0.6%|
|Developmental Services||$10.9 million||$12.23 million||($1.32 million)||-10.9%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$10.3 million||$8.11 million||$2.19 million||27.1%|
|Children & Families||$5.86 million||$5.8 million||$55,874||1%|
Five state agencies accounted for over 93% of all overtime spending in the first quarter of this fiscal year, with two of those agencies seeing declines for the quarter.
The Department of Correction spent the most on overtime in the quarter—$21.47 million, a 10.6% increase over the first three months of fiscal 2018.
State government overtime spending is on pace to hit a record high $268 million this fiscal year.
Connecticut's prisons housed 13,500 inmates in May, down from a high of 19,900 in 2008 and the lowest inmate population since 1994.
Agency Overtime Tabs
Overtime spending increased 27.1% or $2.19 million at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and 1% at the Department of Children and Families.
The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services spent $14 million on overtime last quarter, down 0.6%, while spending fell 10.9% to $10.9 million at the Department of Developmental Services.
Outside the top five, another 29 agencies spent $4.38 million in the first quarter, a 24% increase over the first three months of last fiscal year.
Eight of those agencies saw overtime costs fall, with the Department of Veterans Affairs posting the largest decline (-$107,971).
Spending rose for the quarter despite 256 fewer state employees claiming overtime.
Overall, 13,982 state employees were paid an average $4,789 in overtime. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, the average payout was $4,440 to 14,238 employees.
DESPP employees had the highest average payout in the first quarter, with 1,130 workers averaging $9,123 in overtime.