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Boston’s overtime bill for snow services tops $6 million

Brown snow mounds piled on Commonwealth Ave. at Clarendon St.
Brown snow mounds piled on Commonwealth Ave. at Clarendon St.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/Globe staff

Winter's epic snowfall may have melted, but Mayor Martin J. Walsh's administration continues calculating the cost. The snow-related overtime tab for municipal employees topped $6 million, according to data released Tuesday by the City of Boston.

Almost half the bill belonged to Public Works Department employees, who were paid $2.9 million for nearly 73,000 hours of overtime. That figure nearly doubled the snow overtime for the two previous winters, when they were paid roughly $1.6 million each year.

But this year, overtime went for more than just plowing and salting. Police officers earned $1.3 million for nearly 26,000 hours of overtime. Firefighters took home $1.1 million in overtime for 17,000 hours.


The city added extra police and fire companies to handle potential emergencies during the storms, according to Walsh's press secretary, Bonnie McGilpin.

Other city departments paying overtime for snow duty included Parks ($266,000), Transportation ($232,000), and Inspectional Services ($86,000). The Boston Public Library incurred $72,000 in overtime, and Boston Public Schools paid $33,000, according to data provided by the city.

Boston set an all-time record this winter with 110.6 inches of snow. The city has estimated the cleanup cost at roughly $40 million, more than double the budgeted $18.5 million.

The majority of the work was not done by city employees. Through Tuesday, the city had paid $20.6 million to privately contracted plow drivers, McGilpin said. Private plow drivers are paid a set rate and do not earn overtime.

To tend to the snow, private plow drivers and city employees worked nearly 211,000 hours. That equates to about 80 days of work for every inch of snow.

Andrew Ryan can be reached at andrew.ryan@globe.com .