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Inspector General finds Baltimore Police employees work on vacation to earn overtime pay

Posted at 10:32 PM, Jul 08, 2021

BALTIMORE — Your tax dollars are paying millions of dollars in overtime at the Baltimore City Police Department, but are all those payments legitimate?

The Baltimore City Inspector General Office investigated overtime usage, after a complaint said employees were paid for overtime hours they weren't entitled to.

For the last two years the BPD has exceeded its overtime budget by around $12 million.

The Office of the Inspector General released the report after a complaint that BPD employees were getting overtime pay they shouldn't.

It said members of the staff were working on days they already had approved for paid time off, which means they got a higher hourly rate.

But the review found that's not actually against the rules.

Inspector General, Isabel Mercedes Cumming found some BPD employees are authorized to get paid for vacation and personal leave while receiving overtime.

“This is a legal way that things can happen here in Baltimore City," Cumming said. "When we received the amount of overtime and how much it ends up costing the citizens, we felt that even though it’s legal, sometimes my office actually shines a light on situations that can be perceived as wasteful.”

The President of the FOP responded to the report by thanking the Inspector General for validating they are in compliance with policy.

Pointing to the fact that no BPD Employee can work overtime without at least a supervisor's approval.

The union president said the timing of this report is no surprise because “It coincides with current labor negotiations between FOP#3 and the city. Just like the 10-hour/shift schedule that was desired by the city in 2016 and then quickly became the boogie man issue as to why the crime fight was faltering, the BPD continually tries to pin its self-created failings on the FOP.”

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison released statement in response saying the creation of new overtime polices is a major culture shift.

Pointing to a 13% reduction in overtime spending from fiscal year 2019 to 2020 and that spending is projected to be down 37% this year from where it was in 2019.

The department is also using new software for scheduling.

Harrison also said they're working on adding provisions to the agreement with the FOP regarding hours worked.

Lastly commuting to investigate potential policy violations.

Councilman Mark Conway is the Chairman of the Public Safety and Government Operations Committee.

He plans to hold a hearing on the findings of the report and find ways to curve overtime usage, a date has not yet been set.