Mainstream news media like to sensationalize overtime use in public sector employment. The media broadcasts that statewide “nearly 300 state employees” made over $50,000 in overtime last year. The media presents this like the public sector employees who worked the overtime are getting away with something. What the media conveniently forgets is that much of that overtime money is due in large part to draconian cuts in the number of public sector workers. The big users of overtime in the Monroe County area are the Rochester Psychiatric Center and the Finger Lakes DDSO. Both these state facilities provide quality care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled folks in our community. With the state and local government cutting back on employees, the work still needs to be done and these folks need support and care on their road to independence (short staff or not).
What the news media does not share is much of the overtime is “mandatory” overtime. While some overtime is welcome, the amount of mandation is chilling. The only reason public employees are mandated to work overtime, is due to short staffing. Most of these employees would prefer to be home with their families after putting in 40 hours per week of tough grueling work.