Erie County Legislators question overtime pay during pandemic

Erie County

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–Some Erie County Legislators want to know exactly what employees were doing to receive more than $3 million in overtime pay since March.

That’s according to a recent report by Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

“Those people are on salary and you would expect that they’re not going to be taking cash overtime during these types of things,” County Legislature Joe Lorigo said.

Erie County got that money, $160 million, from the federal CARES Act.

Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein received nearly $84,000 in overtime pay.

The next top pay outs were to administrators in the Sheriff’s Office.

Chairwoman April Baskin says, “The question is for the administrative staff that has a some odd amount of over $450,000 in overtime pay in three or four months’ time, what exactly was it that you guys were doing?”

She says she pressed Undersheriff Mark Wipperman about it last week, and Baskin says he told her there was a lot of planning and meetings.

“We really need more concrete information and more specifics especially considering the fact that the Sheriff’s Office is the one county department that does not have a swipe in and swipe out for their employees,” Baskin added.

Baskin says the County Executive’s Office sent their overtime records earlier this week.

Lorigo says there’s still a lack of transparency.

“That to me is incredibly problematic especially considering we’ve had so many meetings discussing what we’re doing and what’s happening and in all those meetings when we would talk about salaries being paid out of the cares money, nobody once mentioned they were going into overtime,” Lorigo said.

Both Baskin and Lorigo say they want to make sure there’s no abuse of overtime, after the county was audited years ago after getting federal funds from the November storm.

Lorigo says the Sheriff’s Office will submit its records by this Friday.

The legislature meets Thursday.

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