Office of Court Administration

 

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Office of the New York State Comptroller

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Office of Court Administration
Controls Over Overtime Costs (Issued 11/15/12)


Purpose
To determine whether overtime at the Office of Court Administration (OCA) was approved in advance as appropriate and whether paid overtime was actually worked. Our audit covered the period April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2011.

Background
The Office of Court Administration manages the State's Unified Court System. OCA's overtime costs for the two State fiscal years ended March 31, 2011 totaled about $73.4 million for approximately 13,000 overtime eligible employees. OCA has issued memorandums stating key policies and procedures and requirements for controlling and containing overtime costs. In addition, between December 2007 and March 31, 2011 OCA reduced its overtime costs by approximately $1.5 million (4.28 percent) in response to budget deficits.

Key Findings

  • OCA overtime payments were, with few exceptions, correctly computed and paid for overtime work that was supported with documentation.
  • Based on a random sample of 196 overtime payments, we found that 110 lacked required written pre-approval for scheduled overtime and 86 lacked documentation to support that a required review was done to identify alternatives for unscheduled overtime.
  • The Public Safety Department accounts for about one half of all OCA overtime and while OCA had directed that Department practices be evaluated to identify opportunities for reducing overtime, no written support was provided to identify the results of the evaluation.
  • OCA's Financial Management Information System summary level overtime reporting was not being routinely provided to the courts for monitoring purposes and no user training for the System had taken place in years. (A new system is planned for 2012)

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that all supervisory staff understand and comply with requirements for written preapproval of scheduled overtime and documented analysis of potential steps to avoid unscheduled overtime.
  • Reassess that all appropriate steps have been undertaken to control Public Safety Department overtime costs.
  • Ensure that the new financial management system is rolled out with necessary user training and support.

Link to full audit report (2011-S-2)

Link to 90-day response

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Metropolitan Transportation Authority-Metro North Rail Road: Forensic Audit of Select Payroll and Overtime Practices and Related Transactions Report 2010-S-60
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: Management and Control of Employee Overtime Costs (2009-S-87)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236