Erie County Comptroller: Health Commissioner has made more in overtime than regular pay this year

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new report shared by Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw shows which county employees made the most in overtime in the first quarter of 2021.

The report took a close look at Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein, who has been on the receiving end of flak from parents who want to see their kids back in the classroom.

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Mychajliw, a frequent critic of both Burstein and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, took aim at the current county administration. He says Burstein makes more than $140/hour while administering COVID-19 vaccines on weekends — her time-and-a-half rate of pay.

“At that rate, Erie County can hire three nurses to do the same job. Clearly getting as many people as possible a COVID vaccine is not the priority of the Poloncarz Administration.  If it were, they would stop Dr. Burstein from billing taxpayers more than $140 an hour in overtime to do so. Three union nurses could be paid the same to vaccinate a lot more people.”

Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw

On average, New York State Nurses Association nurses who administer COVID-19 vaccines are paid $57.53/hour while working overtime, Mychajliw says.

In the first quarter of 2021, the report reveals Burstein clocked in 352 hours of overtime, adding $52,274 to her annual salary of $209,305.

And beyond that, Mychajliw says auditors additionally looked into how much Burstein has made in overtime for the whole year, so far. That amount is $69,517.34, or about $6,000 more than what Burstein has made in regular pay this year ($63,621.09).

Mychajliw believes Burstein “at this pace” will more than double her annual salary, due to overtime.

The Comptroller’s report went on to say that more than $147,000 in overtime was paid to 28 managerial confidential employees for the first 12 weeks of 2021.

During the first quarter of the year, 13 employees of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, altogether, earned $67,591 in overtime, including stadium pay. But the total is only $23,587 without stadium pay.

Stadium pay is reimbursed by the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres.

Here is a breakdown of who earned the most in overtime during the first quarter of 2021:

Office  TitleHoursAmount 
HealthCommissioner of Health352$52,274 
SheriffUndersheriff126$12,453($7,792 without Stadium Pay)
SheriffChief of Administration130$10,923 
Emergency Services and Homeland SecurityDeputy Commissioner – Preparedness146$8,990 
SheriffSuperintendent93$8,371($7,648 without Stadium Pay)
Emergency Services and Homeland SecurityDeputy Commissioner115$7,065 
SheriffChief of Special Services72$5,982($2,064 without Stadium Pay)
SheriffChief Deputy Sheriff71$5,909($1,509 without Stadium Pay)
SheriffChief Deputy – Civil67$5,106($949 without Stadium Pay)

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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