The Clark County Auditor’s Office this week released an Overtime Performance Audit available on the county’s website at clark.wa.gov/auditor/audit-reports.
Several county departments are experiencing conditions that drive an increase in overtime expenses. While the largest overtime expenses were in the Sheriff’s Office and Public Works Department, the average annual growth rate of overtime expenses for all other departments grew. Departments reported using overtime to expand service capacity during high demand, complete special projects, cover limitations of personnel availability and deploy staff during emergencies.
Overtime expenses increase during periods of economic growth and are reduced during economic downturns for all departments except the Sheriff’s Office Patrol function. Their use of overtime remained consistent during all economic conditions. Previous recessionary pressures seen in the last economic downturn may not be experienced post pandemic. The average annual growth rate may return to pre-pandemic growth trends.
The report provides recommendations to improve monitoring and management of overtime expenditures. They include establishing thresholds that would trigger additional analysis of overtime expenses and reviews of staffing levels. Metrics are identified that the Budget Office should monitor and departments that use large amounts of overtime should submit detailed interim reports. More frequent updates to historical data used in the baseline budget process could also reduce some risks.
“Implementation of our recommendations will improve decisions regarding the use of overtime,” said Auditor Greg Kimsey. “An understanding of why overtime has occurred should be used in determining the most effective and efficient use of staff and financial resources.”