The Town of Hempstead was one of two Long Island towns with the lowest percentage of payroll that went to overtime in 2014, a Newsday analysis of town and city payrolls shows.
Hempstead, the country’s largest town, had by far the largest payroll on Long Island: $183,644,985, of which 2.32 percent, or $4,260,418, was for overtime expenses. East Hampton Town also had a 2.32 percent overtime cost. The Islandwide average was 4.83 percent for 2014.
Hempstead spokesman Michael Deery said the town has worked in recent years to reduce overtime and limit the number of part-time employees. The number of part-timers fell to 2,464 in 2014 from 2,500 in 2013. The number of full-time town employees rose by nine, to 2,087, in that same period, the data show.
In recent years, an increasing number of full-time employees have switched to flexible-time schedules, with workers coming in and leaving at different times of the day, Deery said. The staggered schedules reduce the need for part-time employees to fill in gaps, he said. It also has reduced overtime in the long term, Deery said. Overtime rose slightly to 2.32 percent from 2.11 percent in 2013 but is down from 5.34 percent in 2012.
The town also has been cross-training more employees, so they can perform multiple tasks, Deery said.
Hempstead had the fifth lowest payroll per capita on Long Island in 2014.
Four of the five Hempstead employees who received the most overtime were water department workers, with Paul Slater, a water department supervisor, leading the list with $43,609 in overtime on top of a base salary of $98,857.
“Water department employees get called out all times of the day and night for emergencies, especially for water-main breaks,” Deery said.
Conservation and waterways employees, who oversee the town’s wetlands and coastal waterways, also were more likely than others to receive large amounts of overtime. Wayne Solar, a building maintenance supervisor, was second in Hempstead for overtime, with $42,856 added to a base salary of $112,293. Four other workers in the department made at least $21,000 in overtime in 2014.
Deery said the department in 2014 was still dealing with the recovery from superstorm Sandy and the overtime payments were for tasks such as coastal restoration, dune replenishment, bulkhead rebuilding and debris removal.