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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Police Overtime So Lax as to Seemingly Invite Abuse, Audit Says

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge Plan: we'll roll it all into a ball then take whatever we want
  • Plan: we'll roll it all into a ball then take whatever we want
The San Francisco Police Department fails to adequately keep track of $114 million in overtime pay collected by officers, allowed cops to take home more overtime pay than permitted by department policy, and even overpaid officers' uniform allowances, according to a new controller's report.

The report, covering the period between 2007 and 2009, seems to paint a picture of a department where fortunes in overtime pay are handed out sans sufficient oversight. The department keeps track of overtime using an antiquated paper-based system, it doesn't check to make sure officers actually show up for private event overtime bonanzas such as Bay to Breakers, and it's lax in actually collecting from private event organizers once police rack up huge overtime bills. An audit of Bay to Breakers revealed the department did not collect $72,591 for overtime worked at the 2009 race until almost six months after the event.

According to the report:

We concluded that the department does not consistently follow the policies and procedures for earning, documenting, and approving court appearance premium pay and acting assignment pay. In addition, the department lacks formal guidelines for determining when event sponsors who request police services may be allowed to pay for them after the event instead of in advance, which is the normal procedure called for by the City's Administrative Code. The department is not fully enforcing the restrictions that members not exceed 14 hours of work in a 24-hour period or 20 hours of voluntary overtime in a 7-day work week.

  • Most overtime ($46 million or 62 percent) was paid from the City's general fund, while the other 38 percent was paid by non-City organizations, grants, or the Airport.

  • The department's time record retention practices are poor. Some time cards were misfiled and others were missing.

  • The department inadequately controls how millions of dollars of court appearance premium pay (court premium pay) and acting assignment premium pay are claimed and approved.

  • The department does not always promptly bill and collect the costs of overtime worked on behalf of non-city parties, known as Chapter 10B overtime. These parties paid $20.7 million to the department for these services during the audit period.

  •  The department overpaid its members $37,782 for the cost of uniforms.

The rest of the scathing takedown can be found at the Controller's website.

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Matt Smith


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