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ME DOC: State questioned about overtime
By wmtw.com
Published: 04/27/2012

PORTLAND, Maine - In this time of economic recovery, every public dollar is subject to scrutiny and that includes tens of millions of dollars the state of Maine spends in overtime every year.

In fiscal year 2011, the state agencies that paid out the most overtime were the Department of Transportation, Department of Corrections, and Department of Public Safety.

Those three departments paid out more than $18.5 million of the $24 million in overtime the state of Maine paid in 2011.

News 8 took questions about state overtime figures to the heads of the three departments and got very different answers from each one.

The Department of Transportation paid out $7,101,104 in overtime in fiscal year 2011 with 155 workers making more than $10,000 in overtime.

DOT Commissioner David Bernhardt says paying overtime is inherent in what his department does because when Maine's roads get messy, cleanup doesn't always happen during normal business hours.

Bernhardt says, "It snows at night. It snows on the weekends. It snows on the holidays, so you have to call people out. They're going to get overtime."

The story is different at the Department of Corrections where the bottom line on overtime was $5,899,192 last year and 135 workers added at least $10,000 to their paychecks.

Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte says overtime is expensive and it wears people out.

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