DePasquale says hiring freeze caused Correctional Officer overtime payments to triple
DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — Auditor General, Eugene DePasquale, said that a recent audit of the State Correctional Institution at Waymart (SCI Waymart), Wayne County, found that the lack of correction officers prompted annual overtime payments to more than triple over a four-year period. The overtime payments increased from $1 million to over $3.1 million.
“SCI Waymart’s huge jump in overtime from 2011 to 2015 was due in part to vacancies in correctional officer positions, resulting from department-mandated hiring freezes and the need to staff the security shifts by paying overtime to existing staff,” DePasquale said. “This is not only a financial issue, it is also a safety issue caused by staff working too many hours.”
Auditors compared the cost that SCI Waymart paid overtime during the fiscal years ending in June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015 to the cost SCI Waymart would have incurred if correctional officer positions had been hired to cover the overtime hours that SCI Waymart attributed to vacancies.
The data indicated that SCI Waymart could have saved more than $1.2 million during the period July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015 if there had not been hiring freezes and if they had been able to hire correctional officers for the vacant positions. The review also found that 26 of the facility’s officers worked 500 hours or more of overtime and received more than $25,000 in overtime pay from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.
“In the future, I strongly recommend that the Department of Corrections consider both the financial costs and the potential risk to security due to overworked staff prior to implementing any hiring freezes that would result in staffing vacant positions with overtime rather than hiring enough correctional officers,” said DePasquale
Auditors also found that overtime hours recorded by SCI Waymart staff on timekeeping reports did not match overtime hours put in to the payroll system and paid to the correctional officers.
Of the 1,047 correctional officers listed on the reports reviewed, 26 officers’ overtime hours did not add up to the overtime reports, and of those 26, auditors found that two officers were paid a total of six extra hours, totaling $251.
“I am pleased to see that SCI Waymart agrees with my audit findings and already is taking steps to implement the recommendations in this report,” DePasquale said. “It is clear that the leadership of both the correctional facility and the Department of Corrections seem committed to continual improvement.”
The SCI Waymart audit report, which covers July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015, is available online at: PaAuditor.gov.