WKBW-TV is telling us Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw has released a report to county legislators detailing overtime paid to Erie County workers in the period since COVID-19 response started in March.

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While the report gives an overall total overtime tally of $3,219,610 for that time period, it focuses on "Managerial Confidential Workers."  Described as workers appointed to their positions by elected officials. Examples would include department commissioners.

Under normal circumstances, MC workers cannot receive overtime pay.  However, during the state of emergency in Erie County, they have been able to collect over time.

"Normally these political appointees would not get overtime. They would be compensated in comp time or many of them would just work the additional hours," Mychajliw explained.

The top three overtime earners described in the report are:

  1. Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Health Commissioner
    1. Annual Base Pay: $200,768
    2. Overtime: $83,996
  2. Scott Patronik, Sheriff's Chief of Special Services
    1. Annual Base Pay: $113,387
    2. Overtime: $53,927
  3. Mark Wipperman, Undersheriff
    1. Annual Base Pay: $136,288
    2. Overtime: $46,538

In outlining the report Thursday, Mychajliw remarked the funding for the overtime is being paid from the federal CARES Act.

Recently the county approved 65 layoffs as part of a deficit-reduction plan.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz has reacted to the overtime costs through use of the CARES Act.

"It is something that is approved within the CARES Act - overtime and salaries associated with the response to COVID," Poloncarz stated.

Poloncarz also defended those administrators who have worked around the clock to deal with the pandemic.

Lawmakers are expected to ask leaders to come to the legislature to explain the overtime pay.

"My initial reaction was that I'm shocked," declared Joe Lorigo, minority leader, Erie County Legislature.

Lorigo said the legislature will need to review the overtime costs for the top administrators to find out what work was performed.

Lorigo said lawmakers need to conduct a review from the "top-down" to check for any potential abuse.

The minority leader says he questions the "legality" of using federal funding for overtime.

Lorigo said he believes lawmakers will call in Poloncarz and the Sheriff's office to explain the work administrators conducted to make sure the overtime funding was used correctly.


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