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Breaking The Bank: Boston City Officials Begin Investigating Police Overtime System

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"Basically the officers have figured out a way to manipulate the contract to generate substantial increased revenue for hours that aren’t worked."

Boston city leaders are starting to worry that their current overtime system for police officers could be “breaking the bank,” CBS Boston reports.

For instance, in 2011, 128 officers made more than both the Mayor and the Police Commissioner who are paid approximately $175,000, the report adds. In fact, 41 officers made more than $200,000 last year.

“I think that when they (the public) see outrageous salaries, there are questions and I think it’s really important to answer those questions,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.

“Basically the officers have figured out a way to manipulate the contract to generate substantial increased revenue for hours that aren’t worked,” Sam Tyler, a municipal watchdog, said.

Watch the Boston CBS news brief:

What are some of the ways police officers have figured out how to play the system?

“For example,” CBS Boston explains, “an officer called in for a court case gets a four hour minimum, even if he is only needed for a fraction of that. Ditto when working a paid detail. It is all perfectly legal and spelled out in the union contract.”

So if an officer works one minute over four hours, he gets paid for eight.

“When you see this type of practice and you have 2,100 police officers in Boston, that all adds up to a lot of extra dollars that the taxpayers are paying,” Tyler said.

And in regards to the system “breaking the bank,” the city of Boston paid out $32 million in overtime last year.

“The budget is full of choices and when we don’t use it in one area we could use it in another area,” Murphy said.

Boston is also starting to rethink its existing policy of buying back unused vacation and sick time.

“City Council President Murphy wants to limit the length of time someone can carry that, so the city doesn’t get stuck with a large bill when the person leaves,” CBS Boston reports.

Front page photo source Boston.com

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