Muni Overtime Pay Exceeded $55.7 Million, Audit Shows

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MUNI OVERTIME PAY
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A new audit shows some San Francisco Muni workers have been working long, well-compensated hours lately, with some taking home an extra $100,000 a year because of it.

Muni paid more overtime compensation to its employees than any other city department. In total, the department spent $55.7 million in overtime pay alone.

Of the 25 highest overtime-earning city employees, 22 worked for Muni. One employee put in 1,954 hours of overtime and earned over $163,000, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The overtime pay was more than two times the amount of the employee's base salary.

Another Muni Transit Supervisor clocked 2,262 hours of overtime, which was more than double his scheduled hours.

Muni officials blame shortages in qualified mechanics, increased special events and demand for night service for the long hours and increased overtime spending.

"Sometimes it's required that people work a full day and then work a full night," Muni spokesperson Paul Rose told ABC. "It's hard work, it's needed work, but it's something that needed to be done."

The overspending audit recommended hiring 200 additional operators to bring Muni closer to its allocated budget. The department is closely monitoring overtime and increasing training to tackle the issue.

The Fire Department earned the number two spot in overtime pay, with 47 firefighters earning more than $70,000 in overtime. Together, Muni and and the Fire Department employed 222 of the top 225 city overtime workers.

The high overtime pay is not the first report that has raised eyebrows about the city's allocation of funds.

Last year, it was reported that police chief Greg Suhr earned $321,577. The salary made him the highest-paid police chief in the nation.

"It's not about Chief Suhr," Supervisor John Avalors told CBS. "But over $300,000 for a police chief of a city less than a million people? That's too much money."

Suhr told the Chronicle that he wasn't surprised he was the highest paid police chief in the nation, given that San Francisco has "one of the best-compensated police departments in the country, in one of the most expensive cities in the country." But he did turn down two annual $15,000 bonuses, stating that he couldn't take the money "in good conscience" when other city employees were forced to take more than two weeks of furlough days both of those years.

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Filed by Hannah Bricker