Life in the Public Sector: Over $630K Overtime in Less Than 5 Years

The public sector exists to spend; it doesn’t really care about spending money wisely.

money dam

Everyone is acting as if the fact that this New York State woman was paid so much money is a great scandal because she did something so outrageous. But the real scandal should be that she was able to do something so outrageous. Reading this story, I have to ask myself: What private sector job would allow me to make such a large amount of money for such questionable productivity?

According to the Journal News,

A nurse at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women raked in more than $630,000 in overtime in less than five years, putting on her time cards she worked 192 days straight — or every day for more than six months — mostly in 16.5-hour overnight shifts, according to records obtained by The Journal News.

The registered nurse, 62-year-old Mercy Mathew of Pomona, was the state’s highest overtime earner in 2012, netting $150,630 on top of her $58,468 salary at the state’s only maximum security prison for women. She also snagged the title in 2009, when she made $171,814 in overtime.

According to her time cards, Mathew’s designated work schedule was 3-11 p.m., but she routinely stayed until 7:30 a.m. the next morning without a break. On days off, she often collected 16.5 hours of overtime for a single shift. Mathew worked more than 90 percent of the available days between Dec. 18, 2008 and Sept. 4, 2013. Even though she resigned Oct. 11, 2013, she still managed to break into the top 20 overtime earners last year.

So this happened year after year and no one noticed? No one asked what kind of service they were getting in return for all this money that was going into her paycheck?

[See also, “Unionized Public Employees Allegedly Rig Overtime.”]

The fact is she is not the only one:

In 2010, then-DOC Commissioner Brian Fischer pledged to cut down on overtime spending at the prison after Klein, who chaired the Senate’s Task Force on Government Efficiency, released a report outlining more than $15 million in wasteful spending by the agency through overtime pay and administrative and housing costs. The report found that in fiscal years 2008-09, the DOC spent $87 million in overtime — 20 percent of the overtime spent by the entire state.

So the Department of Corrections is paying many people a lot of overtime. Then it pretends to care about “government efficiency”—as if that is even possible.

Why do politicians devote time and resources to “government efficiency”? Answer: in order to put voters to sleep and continue to enjoy the rewards of taxpayer funded government inefficiency.