Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard
BUFFALO, NY - The Erie County Executive is calling on the County Comptroller, to conduct an audit of overtime practices of the County Sheriff's Department.
County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he wants that audit, after Comptroller Stefan Mychalijiw issued a report which showed that 62 of the 106 Erie County employees (or 58%) earning over $100,000 in salary and overtime in 2012 were employees of the Sheriff's office. Additionally, in 2012 74% of all overtime County wide was attributable to the Sheriff, with $10.5 million in Jail Management and $2.2 million in the Sheriff Division.
Sheriff Timothy Howard says the short answer to why his department pays out so much overtime is that it is understaffed, as made evident in an audit by state officials not long ago. He also notes that the county has approved the addition of 72 positions to his department, to be phased in over the next two years. Howard said that the increased number of positions, particularly at the county's jails, should severely reduce, although not entirely eliminate overtime.
"As Sheriff I should say that I welcome another audit...but as a tax payer I would ask how much more in resources we want to spend to prove the obvious?"
"We plan to look at overtime, but overtime is soaring over every single department in county government," Mychalijiw told WGRZ-TV. "There were 59 people, white collar deputy directors, that get overtime, across county government," Mychalijiw said, suggesting that if Poloncarz is so concerned, he should perhaps look internally at county departments for which he has direct oversight.
Mychalijiw, who like Howard is a Republican, went further in suggesting that Poloncarz (a Democrat) was engaging in "hyper partisan politics" at a time when Democrats are trying to finalize a candidate to run against Howard this November.
Click on the video player to watch our report from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Bob Mancuso. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2