Second Ward Councilwoman Jo Ann Aeh brought up the subject of overtime at Monday’s Portsmouth City Council meeting. As the meeting began, Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen shared an email from Bill Beaumont of the City Service Department.
The email said two of the city’s garbage trucks were out of action Monday. He said the Sciotoville, East end and Dumpster route was up to date and that two trucks were in the process of working Monday evening. Beaumont said mechanics were working over Monday evening to install a new main hydraulic cylinder on one truck, which was scheduled to run the Monday and Tuesday hilltop route on Tuesday.
He went on to say workers would pick up needed parts on Tuesday for the other route truck and have it ready on either Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning.
When the time came for comments from individual Council members, Aeh spoke on that topic.
“Some of my complaints by phone and on Facebook were about the garbage,” Aeh said. “I appreciate the city manager giving us an update on what is happening there. However, the overtime I think is a big question. In 2013, we paid out $7,803.29 in overtime In 2014, $33,981.61. In 2015, $56,287.35. And in 2016, $71,998.09. My question is – those trucks don’t go down setting in the garage at night time. If they go down during the workday, and they need to be worked on and they know they’re not going to get it done, why are we having employees coming in and waiting for a truck?”
Aeh said she did not know if those workers are out doing other work during the downtime, including things like taking dump trucks out and picking up discarded mattresses.
“My question is on the amount of overtime and what do they do when the trucks are down?” Aeh asked. “If they’re working overtime, what are they doing during those hours that they normally would be working?”
Allen later told the Daily Times the department has shrunk from 15 to 11 employees and when several people call off, it creates an overtime situation automatically.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.