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Livingston Parish dealing with excess overtime

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Posted: Dec 18, 2013 5:00 PM by Troy Gaulden
Updated: Dec 18, 2013 5:00 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Livingston, money, budget, Layton Ricks, overtime, workers

LIVINGSTON - Livingston Parish has around $150,000 of unpaid overtime on its books, and now parish leaders are dealing with the problem.

Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks says making lump-sum payouts is unrealistic.

"We simply cannot pay it out. The budget won't allow that. If we paid it to get everyone down to the 160 hours, we're looking at over $30,000 we'd have to write a check for. That wouldn't solve the problem," he said.

Finance Director Jennifer Meyers agreed that lump-sum payouts wouldn't solve the parish's overtime problem.

"It's one thing to say hey we'll just pay it and wipe it off the books, but you didn't really solve the problem. You solved the symptom. The issue is we have to accrue overtime in certain instances for these call outs," she said.

Livingston Parish leaders are asking department heads to get workers to take vacation days or leave work early at times to dwindle away comp hours.

Ordinances adopted in 2007 limit parish workers to 160 hours of compensatory time, but workers are still accruing more than 160 comp hours.

"Even if we could write that check, if we don't put a policy in place or the department heads don't insist that we follow the policy in place then 6 months or a year, year and a half from now we're right back down to having to write another $100-150,000 check," said Ricks.

Both Ricks and Department of Public Works Director Sam Digirolamo say it's an issue that they inherited from the past.

"We've got public works folks that have been here for 10, 12, 15 years and they've just accumulated a lot of time over that period, and now we're having to deal with it. So we've got to ask these guys to kind of take a little time off and see if we can cut this thing down and get back to controllable," said Digirolamo.

Ricks says the parish will look at a new overtime policy for possibly 2014. Despite Ricks saying payouts are unrealistic, the Livingston Parish Council will consider paying its clerk staff lump-sum payouts Thursday.

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