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Published: Wednesday, 10/12/2011

Fire Department on way to overtime overspending

BY GABRIELLE RUSSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Perrysburg Fire Department is on its way to spending nearly $48,000 over budget for overtime this year, Chief Jeff Klein said.

The department had planned for $358,327 in overtime expenses, but Chief Klein said that number is expected to reach $406,000 by the end of the year.

One firefighter received $40,015 in overtime, which was the most overtime given out in the fire department from Jan. 1 to Oct. 2, according to the city's finance department.

Fourteen of 22 employees have received more than $10,000 in overtime during that same time period, the records showed.

The overtime outlay comes during an "anomaly" as two firefighters unexpectedly resigned this summer during prime vacation season and a steady stream of employees has been injured or on sick leave since August, 2010, Chief Klein said.

"I've got to believe 2011 is a fluke year," Chief Klein said to City Council members during an Oct. 3 service-safety committee meeting .

But the chief said the overtime won't have a significant effect on the department's $2.85 million budget because the department is projecting up to a $100,000 surplus this year and has cut spending on training programs.

The department also hired two new firefighters starting Oct. 3 to replace the retired workers.

Last year, the department overspent its overtime budget by about $13,000, Chief Klein said.

However, at the police department, overtime expenses are currently falling under budget, Police Chief Daniel Paez told City Council at the same Oct. 3 meeting.

So far, the department has spent $156,456 on overtime for the 32 sworn employees, less than the $190,000 budgeted this year.

Overtime for dispatchers has cost $22,687 so far, under the $36,538 budgeted for this year.

"We are just very careful about the ways we utilize overtime," said Chief Paez, acknowledging his police department didn't have the recent staffing problems as the fire department.

"We try to be as cost effective as possible."

Contact Gabrielle Russon at: grusson@theblade.com or 419-724-6026.



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