MOORLACH UPDATE — Overtime — April 21, 2011

They are called “parent tapes.”  It’s the things your parents said to you repeatedly during your childhood.  “If Frank jumps off the bridge, does that mean you have to jump off of the bridge, too?”  You know what I’m talking about.

It’s almost like Forrest Gump.  “Momma used to say . . .”  Well, my mother always said that you “have to spend a dime to make a quarter.”  I used that phrase, with a small twist, at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The OC Register article below first appeared on its website yesterday morning.  This generated a fun interview with Bill Carroll of KFI AM 640 during yesterday’s lunch hour.  The link is on our Performance Audit Department’s website.

It’s is always great to tell a positive story.  It was worth it to establish a Performance Audit Department to review what County departments are doing and how they can do things better and more efficiently.

Bill Carroll

http://www.ocgov.com/ocgov/Info%20OC/Departments%20&%20Agencies/Office%20of%20the%20Performance%20Audit%20Director

Sheriff cut overtime costs by $25.9 million

Kimberly Edds, Staff Writer

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department slashed $25.9 million in overtime pay over the last two years, cutting those costly payouts by 54 percent, according to the county’s performance auditor.

The findings are part of a follow-up to a 2008 audit which harshly criticized the department for allowing overtime pay to spiral out of control in recent years because the department lacked sufficient rules and controls on the extra pay.

Overtime in the department – which employs nearly half of the county’s sworn law enforcement officers – totaled nearly $48 million in fiscal year 2007-2008. The department’s overtime costs had more than doubled since 2003-2004, the 2008 report said.

New overtime rules, along with changes in the way the department deploys its resources, dropped overtime costs down to $21.6 million, the April audit revealed.

“This is a good success story for the county,” Steve Danley, the county’s performance auditor director, told supervisors Tuesday.According to the 2008 audit, most of the overtime was paid to cover shifts because of staff shortages, especially in the county’s jails. But the report also revealed employees working on days when they had scheduled time off, and working more than the allowable hours of overtime during a pay period. These practices allowed 100 Sheriff’s employees to earn more than 50 percent of their base pay in overtime, the 2008 audit found.

Dwindling property and sales tax revenues forced the department to slash $53 million from its budget over the last two fiscal years.

As the department tightened its belt, it also tightened up its overtime rules and regulations, implementing many of the changes recommended by the county’s performance auditor.

The  Sheriff’s Department closed jails, overhauled its deployment schedule and hired civilians to perform some duties in the jails to allow higher-paid, highly trained deputies to go back on the streets – all measures which the audit said has helped the department save overtime costs.

The Sheriff’s Department also began housing suspected illegal immigrants in county jails in return for a paycheck from the federal government – another move that helped defray costs.

The Sheriff’s outdated manual timecard system – which requires eight payroll employees to manually enter data – still needs to be overhauled, but the department has just $450,000 of the $900,000 to make that happen, said Sheriff’s Executive Director Rick Dostal. A new system could save the county as much as $225,000 a year, the audit found.

Vice Chairman John Moorlach, who requested in 2008 that the county examine the Sheriff’s skyrocketing overtime costs, asked the county’s chief executive officer to try to find the other $450,000 during the county’s June budget hearings.

“I guess what my mother said is true,” Moorlach said. “You have to spend a dime to save a quarter.”

FIVE-YEAR LOOK BACKS

April 19

2001

Martin Wisckol of the OC Register kept the public up to date on the topic of the day in “Edison keeps up county payments.”  The piece was short and sweet, but the interest payment came as no surprise to me.

One day after announcing $1.9 billion in net losses for fiscal 2000, Edison International made its scheduled monthly interest payment to the Orange County treasury Wednesday.  The $87,597 payment brings to $729,101 the total payments made to Orange County since the county invested $20 million in a medium-term note Sept. 28.

The controversial investment matures July 17.  Treasurer John Moorlach expects payments to continue on time despite difficulties Edison International has had as a result of the state’s electricity crisis.

2006

The California Chronicle had a fun headline, “Senator Tom McClintock Endorses Moorlach for Supervisor.”  His quote was very prescient.

John Moorlach’s proven fiscal leadership has helped get Orange County back on its financial feet,” said Senator McClintock.   “Now, with a looming pension crisis, Orange County needs his brand of no-nonsense fiscal management on the Board of Supervisors to once again help the county through a major financial challenge.  John Moorlach is the right man for the job, and I am proud to support him.”

April 21

2006

The California Chronicle had a fun headline, “Congressman Ed Royce Endorses Moorlach for Supervisor.”  His quote was very complimentary.

                “John Moorlach has been a tough fiscal watchdog of our Treasury, and I trust him to be a strong voice for fiscal discipline and accountability on the Board of Supervisors,” said Congressman Ed Royce.  “John will be a great Supervisor, and he has my full support.”

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