Oakland police exceed overtime budget by $13.7M per year, new report says

Bay Area

OAKLAND (KRON) — The conduct of the Oakland Police Department has caused controversy in the past and now there are concerns about how much money the department spends on overtime.

The city auditor believes officers’ overtime pay is being done with poor oversight.

The auditor says the city has been unrealistic in the way it budgets for police overtime and on top of that, policies are not being followed and the entire process is being poorly managed.

$30 million — that’s the average Oakland police have spent on overtime for each of the last four years, according to a new report by the city’s auditor.

“The city still does not realistically budget for overtime. OPD has exceeded its overtime budget by an average of $13.7 million over the last four fiscal years,” the report said. “Reports for monitoring overtime are not timely and OPD management staff does not consistently use them. Additionally, the department has not taken sufficient steps to document the authorization and approval of overtime.”

Some city council members have now proposed the city develop new policies to better monitor public safety overtime as part of the new budget.

Council President Rebecca Kaplan says the audit also identifies problems with how overtime is delegated.

“One of the things that stands out is how the overtime is clustered and that the auditor pointed out how there may be inappropriate self dealing going on in terms of senior police officials who are in charge of designating overtime,” she said.

The report says one officer responsible for a lot of decision-making is the second highest overtime earner for the last five fiscal years and he consistently assigned himself to work many of the special events.

Excessive overtime is another problem.

The report found three sworn staff that worked more than 70 days without a day off, in violation of the department’s policy.

Other Oakland police staff worked overtime when they were on paid leave in violation of the department’s policy.

The auditor has made 21 recommendations, 17 of which Oakland Police has agreed to implement, another two which the department has suggested agreeable alternative and two which they have refused to implement, revolving around office fatigue and special event scheduling.

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