The Massachusetts state payroll declined slightly in 2016, but the state continued to dole out increasing sums to cover overtime.
And some individual workers took home hefty sums of overtime pay, including 16 who made $100,000 or more in overtime compensation, in addition to their base pay, last year.
Edward McCarthy, a civil engineer with the Department of Transportation, took home the most overtime pay of any worker last year: $141,777 to go with his $101,802 in base pay.
Transportation department spokesman Patrick Marvin said that McCarthy is a district area supervisor who manages 82 employees and “oversees response to many unanticipated events such as vehicle crashes, emergency repair work and traffic detours due to public events or other reasons ... his job in part is to make sure that work required to be performed is done so in keeping with safety guidelines and in keeping with labor agreements.”
Marvin also noted that McCarthy’s overtime pay in 2016 was lower than the $194,599 in overtime pay he received in 2015.
“MassDOT is continuing to analyze businesses processes and available resources in order to maintain adequate staffing levels and optimize operations during unforeseen events,” Marvin said.
The second-highest sum of overtime pay went to State Police Trooper Eric Chin, who made a total of $302,401 last year, including $131,654 in overtime pay and $66,094 in “other” pay.
(Other pay includes police detail pay, standby pay, shift differential, roll call pay, and stipends.)
State Police spokesman David Procopio said there are limits, set through collective bargaining, around how many hours troopers can work per week (85) and per 24-hour period (16.5), and department officials routinely audit trooper payroll submissions to make sure they comply with those rules.
Chin, who is assigned to a jurisdiction that is busy for traffic and speed enforcement and crash response, has his hours audited every pay period and he “is probably the most-frequently audited trooper,” Procopio said.
In 2015, Chin received $121,568 in overtime pay.
Mary Connaughton, director of government transparency at the Pioneer Institute, a nonprofit think tank that supports limited government said such large amounts of overtime pay raise eyebrows.
“What gets questionable there, is: How many hours can one work and still be effective?,” she wondered.