State overtime spending hit $181.2 million through the third quarter of fiscal 2019, $3 million more than the same period last year.
The legislature's nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis' latest overtime report shows the state on track to spend almost $242 million in overtime this year, a 6% increase.
State agencies spent $61 million on overtime in the third quarter, a 15% jump over the previous quarter.
Overtime spending peaked at $256.1 million in 2015, decreasing dramatically over the next two years to $219 million in 2016 and $204.4 million in 2017.
However, costs have soared since, hitting $228.2 million last year and on pace this year to reach almost a quarter of a billion dollars.
Overtime spending has significant short-term and long-term fiscal implications for the state, which faces multi-billion dollar budget deficits over the next two fiscal years.
As overtime is allowed as a factor in calculating state employee pensions, the failure to control those costs also drives up Connecticut's long-term liabilities.
Overtime Spending: Top Five Agencies
|Department||FY 2019 Overtime||FY 2018 Overtime||$ Difference||% Difference|
|Correction||$59.39 million||$56.56 million||$2.83 million||5%|
|Mental Health & Addiction Services||$40.22 million||$41.82 million||($1.6 million)||-3.8%|
|Developmental Services||$30.47 million||$34.88 million||($4.4 million)||-12.6%|
|Emergency Services & Public Protection||$21.52 million||$16.23 million||$5.29 million||32.5%|
|Children & Families||$16.87 million||$17.3 million||($430,079)||-2.5%|
Costs Rise Despite Some Agency Cuts
Five state agencies account for more than 93% of all overtime spending, with three of those departments reducing costs this fiscal year between 2.5% and 12.6%.
The Department of Correction continues to spend more than other agencies, racking up $59.4 million through the third quarter of 2018-19, a 5% increase over last year.
Through March, 5,066 DOC employees claimed overtime—734 more than the same period last year.
That's despite a dramatic drop in Connecticut's prison population since 2008, falling from 19,898 inmates to 13,085 as of this month.
The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services spent $40.2 million through March, a decrease of $1.6 million (3.8%) over last year, despite 112 more employees claiming overtime.
Overtime costs fell 12% to $30.5 million at the Department of Developmental Services.
Spending jumped 32% to $21.5 million at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, although 47 fewer employees claimed overtime.
Average Overtime Exceeds $10K
DESPP employees also had the highest average payout of any agency, with 1,160 workers averaging $18,552 in overtime.
Overtime spending fell 2.5% at the Department of Children and Families, which spent $16.9 million through March.
Spending at all other departments increased from $11.4 million in the first three quarters of 2018 to $12.7 million so far this fiscal year.
One of the biggest percentage increases was in the Judicial Department, which saw costs balloon from $1.2 million to $2.1 million, a 71% increase.
Fourteen of those agencies saw overtime costs fall, with the Department of Veterans Affairs posting the largest decline (-$188,507).
Overall, an additional 1,108 state employees were paid overtime compared with the same period in 2018, with 17,431 workers each paid an average $10,393.