New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli speaks before the...

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli speaks before the swearing-in ceremony for Sen Anna M. Kaplan at Clinton G Martin Park in New Hyde Park on Jan. 6, 2019. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Rocky Point school officials may have overpaid employees hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of overtime because of poor oversight, a state audit found.

The report, released Thursday by state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, said Rocky Point district officials had failed to adopt written overtime policies that should have required preapproval of overtime. Officials also failed to adequately monitor overtime spending, auditors said.

"While overtime pay may be an expected cost of doing business, it must be carefully monitored and controlled to help minimize costs," the report said.

In a July 19 letter included with the comptroller’s report, Rocky Point Board of Education president Susan Y. Sullivan said the district accepted the report and planned to change its overtime procedures.

"Although the amount of overtime referenced in the report for the audit period represents only 0.96% of total payroll and 0.35% of total expenditures for the same time period, the district understands its responsibility as a steward of taxpayer funds," Sullivan wrote.

A spokeswoman said Friday that the district had no additional comment.

Rocky Point has about 800 employees and serves about 3,000 students.

The audit covered the period from July 2017 to April 2019. During that time, the district paid about $621,000 in overtime, the report said.

The report did not estimate total overtime overpayments but cited examples of possible overspending.

For example, the report said more than $200,000 in overtime had been paid to 14 employees without preapproval by a supervisor. Those employees did not certify about 23% of their overtime hours, and a supervisor did not certify 4%, the report said.

In some cases, employees did not submit time records with their overtime forms, the report said, adding that one employee was paid overtime as many as 189 days after the overtime work was performed.

The buildings and grounds department exceeded its $150,000 overtime budget by $89,519 in the 2017-18 school year, the report said. After the department’s overtime budget was increased to $236,193 for the 2018-19 school year, the budget was overspent by $20,208, auditors said.

In her July letter, Sullivan said district officials have begun requiring preapproval of overtime and planned to adopt a written overtime policy by September.

The district could not immediately implement the auditors’ recommendation to change work schedules to reduce overtime because those schedules are governed by collective bargaining agreements that expire in June 2025, Sullivan said. She said the district would discuss the matter with union representatives.

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