BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - How did a City of Buffalo employee nearly double his salary with overtime? The worker’s six-figure income is now under the microscope. He made an extra $42,000 in overtime last year.
After the Buffalo comptroller audited the operator of the Erie Basin Marina and the Hatch Restaurant, he sent a letter to city officials to look at the operator’s son, asking why he’s nearly doubled his salary with overtime. Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder wants to know why the employee received more than $78,000 in overtime over two years.
Schroeder sent a letter to the Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak asking why Michael Wolasz Jr. worked so many hours outside of a regular day. Schroeder said, “We are interested in having time sheets. We are interested in knowing who his supervisor is, especially who monitored the timesheets.”
City records show that Wolasz is a water distribution supervisor. In 2012, his base salary was $58,404, but he was paid more than $102,000. Out of that, $42,000 was overtime. So far this year, he has received roughly $36,061.
The comptroller looked into this after his office completed an audit and accused Brand-On Services, the operator of the Erie Basin Marina and Hatch Restaurant, of underpaying their rent by nearly $350,000. The comptroller says he is looking into whether Wolasz Jr. worked for his family at the marina, during company time.
Schroeder said, “We have it on fairly good authority that he does work at the Erie Basin Marina, I really don't like to speculate or say anything that isn't absolute. So that's the reason why we've asked for the verification from the commissioner.”
Stepniak says Wolasz Jr. is a good employee that works around the clock. Stepniak said, “The position that he holds is a 24-7 operation. Water distribution. Anytime there's an issue with water he's on call and it's a very demanding job.”
Stepniak says an outside company oversees and validates all of Wolasz’s overtime. The commissioner also says Wolasz’s job is extensive and involved with various water issues.
Stepniak said, “Whether it's pumping. You have to make sure that the system is running properly. When there's any water breaks, complaints about water.”
The commissioner says it’s common for some employees to receive thousands of dollars of overtime. In fact, Stepniak says that at one point, Wolasz’s supervisor had more overtime. The comptroller says if that’s the case then there are ways to prevent that.
Schroeder said, “It's not something that is surprising. I think there's a way to prevent that and that is to make sure you have the right personnel within your department so that you don't have to have that overtime.”
Schroeder also sent a letter to the owner of Brand-On Services, asking for his current employment status and documentation of any hours he has worked from the beginning of 2012 until now. News 4’s Brittni Smallwood spoke with Wolasz Jr., he declined to comment.
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