This is crazy!
A state psych-hospital worker on Wards Island more than tripled her salary last year thanks to some sweet overtime that amounted to her putting in for 69 additional hours — every week, records show.
Denise Williams, who works as a security training assistant at the maximum-security Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, raked in a total of $321,691.71 in 2019, with $231,113.74 accounting for what she made in overtime, according to records released by the state Comptroller’s Office through a Freedom of Information request by the USA Today Network.
That amounts to a total of 3,611 hours of overtime for 2019.
It was the second consecutive year in a row that Williams topped the state’s overtime-earners list.
The employee at the 200-bed psychiatric facility for criminally charged patients made $278,001.04 in 2018, with $200,442.30 of that in overtime pay, records show.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said fraud is not suspected among the top overtime earners such as Williams, but added that there’s concern the employees could be overworked.
“All of the state’s top overtime earners work at state medical or correctional facilities, working thousands of additional hours in overtime,” DiNapoli said. “We need to make sure agencies are managing overtime efficiently and not putting staff or patients in danger as they clock in so many extra hours.”
In 2019, three of the top 25 overtime earners in the state pulled in more than 3,000 hours in overtime, according to the records.
The state Office of Mental Health, which operates state psychiatric centers, said in a statement that the agency “utilizes employee overtime only when it is needed to comply with minimum staffing requirements.”
“Measures are in place to ensure that the overtime is worked and verified before it is paid,” the agency said.
Under union contracts, time off for vacation days can be used to count toward a 40-hour work week in order to qualify for overtime, a government official said.
For example, the official explained, if a worker on a 40-hour week takes a Monday off and uses vacation time, and then works a double shift on a Friday, the hours used for vacation on Monday count toward the 40-hour week and the double shift on Friday amounts to overtime.
Time during which a state employee is excused from work due to holidays, sick leave, vacation and personal leave is considered as time worked.