The Baldwin school district did not preapprove overtime for its employees and paid overtime to several people who worked during their break periods, a state comptroller’s audit found.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office reviewed the Baldwin Union Free School District’s overtime practices for noninstructional employees between July 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2016, according to a state report released last week.
“While overtime pay may be an expected cost of doing business, it must be carefully monitored and controlled to help minimize costs,” the audit report stated. “Overtime should be incurred only when circumstances arise and cannot be avoided.”
The district typically pays time and a half of an employee’s hourly rate for overtime work, according to the audit. In the period reviewed, the district paid about $1.47 million in overtime to noninstructional employees.
The overtime was only approved after it was worked, and different overtime sheets required varying information from employees, the report stated.
Four employees in the district’s secretarial unit were paid $2,120 in overtime for working through 200 of their 15-minute break periods, even though their standard workday includes two paid 15-minute breaks, during a three-month period, according to the audit. Those employees and two others were paid $5,497 in overtime for working during their unpaid lunch hour.
One employee in the secretarial unit was paid $3,206 in overtime for working through both break times and the lunch hour nearly every day from October 2016 through December 2016, the report stated. The employee’s overtime sheets did not give a reason for the overtime.
The Board of Education should adopt an overtime policy that includes preapproval of overtime, the auditors recommended. The district should also stop paying overtime for break periods.
The district accepts the comptroller’s recommendation, according to a letter from superintendent Shari Camhi.
“We are pleased that your examination did not find evidence of fraud, theft and or professional misconduct,” the district letter stated.
Camhi could not be reached for comment on Monday when schools were closed.