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Paterson — Letters to the Editor

Overtime

Michael Symonds

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 • 11:55am

 

sal·a·ry  
/ˈsalərē/
 
Noun
A fixed regular payment, typically paid on a monthly or biweekly basis but often expressed as an annual sum, made by an employer to an employee
 
 
=======================================
 
Dear Mayor Jones and Business Administrator Thomas,
 
With regard to the reports recently published in the PatersonPress.com, I am extremely concerned at the enormously high levels of overtime being paid to city employees when we face an $8M deficit and still do not have a budget in place.  I was staggered to learn that one officer earned $112,000 in overtime over a twelve month period.  This is money which could have been used to hire some of the missing 88 officers laid off nearly two years ago.  
 
I am also very concerned that salaried employees still think they are eligible for overtime payments.  It's very clear that under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees such as DPW Director Coke are not entitled to overtime from their main employer under any circumstances.  Should any of them be dissatisfied with their current compensation, they are of course free to seek employment elsewhere.  
 
I fail to understand why you think that some salaried employees are entitled to overtime and others are not; Mayor Jones, you yourself have publicly stated the obvious, that you are not entitled to overtime " I know it and my staff knows it". Business Administrator, you too are fully aware that you are not entitled to overtime, so why should any other members of your administration be treated differently?   I mention Director Coke because, once again, he was paid overtime ($706) when its absolutely clear he should not be.  Will this money be returned?  We are lucky to have such dedicated employees like our City Clerk, Jane Williams, Counsel, Paul Forsman and many others who work extremely long hours yet do not claim overtime, because they know they are not entitled to receive it.
 
Mayor, you have an opportunity to go after previous DPW Directors and seek the return of the overtime paid to them if at all possible. This is a chance for you to correct decades of wrongdoing. It is your legal duty to do so. I find it ironic to think that you can blame the previous administration for the current financial mess, yet seem perfectly willing to perpetuate one of their policies which has played a small role in creating this situation.
 
We cannot afford these inappropriate practices to continue and I call upon you to stop this massive drain on our resources. I can save you and the taxpayer the money you are spending on outside counsel: Salaried employees are not entitled to overtime, period.
 
Kind regards,
 
Michael Symonds
 

 

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