City of Chicago Pays $282 Million in Overtime 2016
The City of Chicago has a major overtime problem. According to public records, the city is reportedly paying out a total of over $282 million in overtime in 2016. According to the findings, 1,000 city employees made more than $40,000 in overtime with some employees nearly doubling their yearly salary.
A deputy engineer water department employee earned $213,977 in 2016, including $102,480 in overtime. But one of the largest chunks of overtime resources was allocated to the Chicago Police Department, which collected around $143 million in overtime.
The longstanding city narrative for the water, police and fire departments has been that it was cheaper to pay existing employees to cover the gaps instead of hiring more staff. The $143 million in overtime paid toward the police department last year is equivalent to hiring 1,030 additional full-time officers.
Hiring more employees has become the new focus of Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new plan is to grow the police force by adding 2,200 police officers periodically over the next couple of years. The new hires would account for the retiring of officers, officers up for promotion and to keep the force above its 12,000 employees – growing to nearly a 13,500 force.
Open the Books founder Adam Andrzejewski discovered that nine Chicago deputy and district fire chiefs out-earned the fire commissioner last year. Some deputy chiefs earned up to $246,000 compared to the commissioner’s $202,000 solely because of an incredible amount of overtime earned.
City Hall claims that the overtime was necessary because both the water and fire departments were so understaffed. Many of these positions remain open due to a slow hiring process, but are in the process of being filled.
Andrzejewski believes that Emanuel has misused taxpayer’s money and wrongfully managed city resources. For more city employee transparency and records of income, you can go to Openthebooks.com and see all of your local city employees salaries. Transparency is key to understanding where the money is going and what that means for your local government.