By Wenhao Ma
Hauppauge school district reportedly failed to efficiently monitor employee overtime to ensure that the district is incurring only necessary costs.
According to an audit report released by the New York State Comptroller’s office, the staff at Hauppauge did not fully comply with the district’s procedures for obtaining preapproval for overtime during a period from July 1, 2014 to Aug. 31, 2015.
The report said employees must obtain approval before working overtime, however there are not “adequate procedures in place to ensure overtime is pre-approved.”
Out of the select 15 payments that contained the highest amount of overtime pay in the report, none of the overtime hours worked had been preapproved.
The audit used one security guard as an example.
The chosen security guard worked 33.5 overtime hours and received overtime payments totaling $1,143 for “video room coverage.” According to the report, even though district timesheets provide space for supervisors to preapprove overtime, department and security office supervisors did not approve the overtime on the record before the work was started.
“New procedures will be created requiring overtime and the associated justification to be pre-approved by department supervisors,” — James Stucchio
The report listed two recommendations for district officials: to implement procedures to approve and provide justification for overtime prior to the work being performed and review security staffing and to determine whether work shifts can be rearranged to incorporate video room coverage into a regular workday, instead of an employee monitoring cameras during off hours.
Hauppauge administration accepted the recommendations and promised to implement new measures within the next 90 days. The district said the current protocol is to approve overtime after the work has been performed, but they would look at reversing the process.
“New procedures will be created requiring overtime and the associated justification to be pre-approved by department supervisors,” James Stucchio, deputy superintendent, said in a response to the report. “This will protect the district from unauthorized extra work and allow for the possible rearranging of shifts to lower or eliminate the need for the overtime.”
Additionally, Hauppauge said it will review the shifts for the security staff in order to determine if coverage for monitoring the surveillance system and other related work can be incorporated into regular shifts, and examine if it needs to add a part-time staff member to lower or eliminate the overtime.