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Augusta city workers rack up Masters Week overtime

Saturday, April 20, 2013 4:37 PM
Last updated Sunday, April 21, 2013 1:44 AM
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If Augusta city employees seemed busy around the Masters Tournament, it’s because they were, accruing nearly 3,000 hours of overtime during the two-week pay period that ended the Friday of Masters Week.

The tournament is known to keep airport, traffic engineering, maintenance and public safety personnel busy as golf fans descend on the city. This year was no exception, as the city paid out $69,267 in overtime, although some departments said their overtime wasn’t related to the tournament.

According to a report of overtime during the period, which did not include the Saturday, Sunday or the week after the tournament, Augusta Regional Airport personnel accrued the most overtime. Airport security marshals, maintenance workers, customer service agents and other workers racked up 801 hours of overtime during the two weeks.

The amount paid to hourly airport workers for overtime, billed at time-and-a-half, totaled $18,461.48, with the most hours accrued by airport customer service agent Roger Paige Jr., who had 48.5 hours of overtime over 14 days.

Spokeswoman Diane Johnston said the airport budgets for the added expense to handle its busiest time of year.

“We’ve been doing it a long time, so we know every year there’s going to be some and it’s budgeted into our process,” Johnston said about overtime. “We pay for it out of our operating revenues. We don’t get a penny from the city.”

Like Augusta Utilities and Environmental Services, the airport pays its bills from revenue but uses Augusta’s human resources department for payroll and other functions.

While some hourly employees might look forward to extra work during the period, they don’t set their own schedules, she said, nor can the airport compromise on security. Nine airport security marshals worked 211 hours of overtime during the period, which was before many guests departed.

“TSA is out here really checking to make sure they’re doing things right,” Johnston said. “We have to have it.”

At the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, whose budget is paid from city taxes and the general fund, sheriff’s deputies, jailers and clerks posted 252 hours of overtime.

Sheriff Richard Round­tree called the overtime “an unavoidable necessity” not affected by deputies taking leave to work special assignments for the tournament or the ongoing Operation Rolling Thunder, a crackdown on unsafe
drivers.

“As we can see from the incident in Boston, there is no price tag that can be placed on the lives of innocent citizens,” he said in an e-mail. “We can never let money be the sole reason for the reduction of the safety and security of our community and those who visit us for that week.”

ALSO HIGH ON Masters-related overtime was Augusta’s Recreation, Parks & Facilities department, which includes city landscape and parks maintenance crews. The department, overseen by Deputy Administrator Bill Shanahan until new director Robert Levine begins work next month, paid 164 overtime hours during the period.

Shanahan said making Augusta look nice for the tournament was worth the extra effort.

“You try to keep it clean because a lot of people come into the city, and you want to put your best foot forward, then they come back for vacations; they bring businesses here; they bring events here,” he said. “It’s a really, really good way, a cheap way to market the city.”

Part of the challenge includes cleaning up after crowds enter the tournament in the morning and leave in the afternoon, he said.

Also working significant overtime hours was traffic engineering, whose hourly traffic signal technicians and maintenance crews had 128.25 overtime hours, and Richmond County Correctional Institute, whose officers oversee inmate work crews, with 97.75 overtime hours in the period.

While Environmental Services staff accrued 236.5 hours of overtime in the period, Director Mark Johnson said only a small part – street sweeper operators, who worked about 30 overtime hours – could be directly attributed to the tournament.

“Hospitality houses and things like that have additional garbage, but in the grand scheme of Augusta volume, it’s not that much,” Johnson said. “As many people that come into town, people go out of town.”

Johnson attributed the overtime to the long operating hours at the landfill. The Blythe facility is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. six days a week, and the department is short on people, he said.

In Utilities, which ranked second in overtime for the period, with 736 hours, Director Tom Wiedmeier said his department’s overtime is an ongoing, unavoidable part of running a utilities operation 24/7.

“Crews responding to sewer backups and leaks, they’re called up all the time,” he said. “I’ve never been able to figure out a better way to do it than with overtime.”

CITY OVERTIME

The following number of hours of overtime were recorded from March 30 to April 12:

DepartmentHours
Augusta Regional Airport801
Utilities736
Richmond County Sheriff252
911 Emergency Services237
Environmental Services236.5
Recreation, Parks & Facilities164
Traffic Engineering128.25
Richmond County Correctional Institute97.75
Tax Commissioner88
Procurement54

Comments (12)

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KSL
106065
Points
KSL 04/20/13 - 04:52 pm
6
1

Tax Commissioner?????

Tax Commissioner?????

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 04/20/13 - 05:17 pm
5
1

Good question, KSL.

Unpublished

Good question, KSL. Inquiring minds want to know.....

KSL
106065
Points
KSL 04/20/13 - 05:36 pm
3
1

Just learned from my husband

Just learned from my husband that it probably had to do with dealing with vendors who were in town. But certainly, on the surface, it begs the question.

KSL
106065
Points
KSL 04/20/13 - 05:41 pm
3
1

An interesting comparison

An interesting comparison would be average 2 week overtime versus Masters' week.

KSL
106065
Points
KSL 04/20/13 - 05:47 pm
3
1

Also, there are other events

Also, there are other events held throughout the year. Just ask Countyman for the list. Wonder how those overtime hours compare?

How do accommodations taxes figure in?

itsanotherday1
34792
Points
itsanotherday1 04/20/13 - 09:10 pm
5
0

"Shanahan said making Augusta

"Shanahan said making Augusta look nice for the tournament was worth the extra effort"

What is the problem with Augusta looking nice all of the time? Seems to me the city should have its game face on 24/7/365.

allhans
21960
Points
allhans 04/20/13 - 09:47 pm
3
0

How about a list of who,

How about a list of who, when and where...I want to know if I might have sighted one or two of them...

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 04/21/13 - 05:05 am
0
1

**

Unpublished

**

showboat
264
Points
showboat 04/20/13 - 11:29 pm
0
0

JUST TELL WHY THE THE TAX

Unpublished

JUST TELL WHY THE THE TAX COMMISSIONER SHOULD GET PAID OVER TIME MASTER WEEK? THIS IS A DANG JOKE!!!!!!!

my.voice
4194
Points
my.voice 04/21/13 - 12:21 am
2
0

Send the bill to

Send the bill to me,

Sincerely,

Billy P.

justthefacts
17996
Points
justthefacts 04/21/13 - 07:53 am
3
0

Money well spent

I'd call it a pretty good investment.

bubbasauce
17291
Points
bubbasauce 04/21/13 - 08:35 am
2
0

Boy I bet they were wore

Boy I bet they were wore totally out from all that hard work! Not. Then again, that's probably the hardest they really work all year! Little bonus for everyone. Great.

nocnoc
31024
Points
nocnoc 04/21/13 - 08:38 am
2
1

Look at it this way

$69,267 paid in overtime
2794.5 Overtime hours "claimed"
================
$24.78 per hour avg.

Or since some are salaried they will get compt time.

bdouglas
3507
Points
bdouglas 04/21/13 - 04:38 pm
2
0

ANGC could pay that bill with

ANGC could pay that bill with 30 min of what they take in at the golf shop any given tournament week morning.

Susan McCord
112
Points
Susan McCord 04/22/13 - 05:45 pm
1
0

nocnoc,

The employees paid overtime here were all hourly workers, not the type to potentially receive comp time. Finance Director says the average overtime hourly wage, at time and a half, is more like $16.52

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