Five State Workers Earned $100K in OT in 2012


Overtime among state agencies grew 11 percent in 2012 from 2011, and five state employees earned more than $100,000 each in overtime alone last year led by a Bedford Hills Correctional Facility nurse, state records show.

The top overtime earner in 2012 was Mercy Mathew, a nurse at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester.

Mathew received $150,630 in overtime – in addition to a $58,000 salary, state records showed. Mathew worked more than 2,500 hours of overtime in 2012, which equates to roughly an extra 48 hours a week of work.

Mathew, who is perennially among the top overtime earners, could not be reached for comment. The other $100,000 overtime earners mainly worked at the state’s psychiatric centers.

Overtime costs for state government rose about $52 million, to nearly $521 million. The state paid for 13.2 million overtime hours in 2012 — the most since 2008, according to records obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau from the state Comptroller’s Office.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli warned the state about the rise in overtime costs.

“State agency overtime jumped more than $50 million last year, reversing a downward trend,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “While often necessary, overtime is an expensive way to operate. Agencies need to do a better job of monitoring their overtime and reduce it whenever possible.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said the overtime was largely the result of the response to Superstorm Sandy last October.

“The alternative would lead to a larger, more costly and inefficient state government — the exact opposite of what this administration has worked toward during the past two years,” said Richard Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesman. “The fact is that the unprecedented damage caused by Hurricane Sandy was also met by a strong response by all segments of the state work force – especially at these three agencies. Their work was critical at New York’s time of need and overtime cost incurred during this time period will be reimbursed by the federal government.”


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  1. At an average of 48 hours a week of overtime, plus regular time, this individual averaged over 12 hours a day if she worked 7 days a week. If she took a day off, she worked an average of over 14 hours a day. There is no way a nurse can give adequate care working that many hours of overtime. Who is in charge of this place?!?

  2. I have the same question as Jonathan. I’m wondering if much of the overtime was simply the result of being on-call. For the amount of overtime worked, the state could afford to hire an additional nurse, which would provide employment for 1 more person and improve care.

    $58,000 is not an exorbitant salary in Westchester, however, the $150,000 in overtime merits investigation.

    I’ve worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. It’s not a schedule that one can maintain indefinitely, especially not in the medical field. Again, I wonder if these hours represent being “on call,” in which case that policy should be changed. If not, and this individual is actually claiming that she has been on site for 88 hours per week, that needs to be investigated and changed, as well.

  3. This is amazing today with the unemployment rate so high! If the average person earns $50,000 and pays the state tax rate of 6.45% it would take almost 47 tax payers to support her $150,000 overtime at $3,225 each! Think about that! We are out of control. I didn’t include her $58,000 base salary, health insurance, and pension etc.

  4. The fact is that NY State (Governor Cuomo) has cut the workforce to the bare minimum and therefore brought this upon themselves. This is something that needs to be addressed, not worrying about how to change the overtime rules.

  5. Dr Mom-you could be a President. HOW could anyone give proper care working that many hours and days ??? Zero oversight. That was the question.

  6. DiNapoli warns about overtime costs?

    Foil how much overtime the retirement system employees work. What about overtime under the Comptroller? Signed off by the Comptroller?

    I work here and many grade 18s in retirements work so much overtime that their pensions are increased past their base pay. Grade 27s in the IT department are on call at the rate of a grade 18, Overtime for all grade 23s at the rate of grade 18. (The contract says grades 23 and above do not get paid overtime, yet Tom continues the practice of paying the 23s and above at an 18 rate throughout the IT department)

    But he warns the state of the cost overtime is?????

  7. When State facilities hire employees with the idea of zero, yes that is 0 , absenteeism this is going to happen. People will take the overtime so other people aren’t forced to work it. I by forced I mean that they are told an hour before the end of their shift that they can’t go home but have to stay for the next shift. That is a fact. Management cares not about child care, elder care, or educational classes. They just stick it to the employees. When you refuse to face reality and staff to normal levels you are going to pay the price in overtime and lack of care.

  8. Safe Water Boy on

    These yearly headlines and stories about overtime are so much about nothing. Either hire more workers to avoid overtime for the short staffed departments or shut your traps about overtime.

    Hypocrites. Also, stop hiring more political patronage do-nothing warm bodies such as is happening in Westchester with Astorino.

  9. Concerned Citizen on

    I am more surprised that the Governors statement sounds as if it defends these employee’s? Perhaps good for some, and not for others, that is the new way for New York and its’ state agencies. The article clearly denotes that one state employee has been earning that type of overtime for many years. I am sure this was no oversight in the plans to rebuild NY on overtime, and recognizance of taxpayer struggles.

  10. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office said the overtime was largely the result of the response to Superstorm Sandy last October.”

    It’s difficult to see how Superstorm Sandy affected overtime at a Westchester correctional facility, or most of the other correctional facilities in the state where the bulk of the overtime was worked last year. Down-state first responders worked a lot of overtime for sure due to the storm, but those are by far and away mostly local employees, not state workers.

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  12. This has been going on for years. It has little to do with understaffing, Sandy or any other excuse. As long as OT is calculated in the pension there will be lots of OT. Pensions are based on the last three years of pay – those closest to retirement get the OT and walk out with mega pensions. Then the next in line goes. It’s a racket.

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