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Council continues to question police department overtime expense

Douglas asks
for more detailed
report from police
The amount of overtime being paid for in the Cairo Police Department continues to attract the attention of the Cairo City Council.
On Monday night, Councilman Kermit Gilliard questioned the overtime report for the period beginning Aug. 10 and ending Sept. 7, which indicated 175 hours of overtime had been used for special events.
An asterisk on the report indicated the special events for that period was Cairo High School football.
“We would have only had one home game during that period so I question 175 hours for CHS football,” Councilman Gilliard said.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton agreed that all of that time could not be attributed just to football and said he would investigate further.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas asked why a more detailed report breaking down the overtime expenses could not be provided.
“Let’s get a detailed report on where overtime is being spent for special events. We may need to look at some of those events. I don’t know how many officers they need at a football game anyway,” Douglas said.
Councilman Ernest Cloud said that as long as visiting teams continued to use locker rooms inside the old CHS gym at least four or five officers would need to be present to aide the team in having access from the field to the gym and back.
Cloud questioned why so many lieutenants were dispatched to football games. According to the veteran councilman, the lieutenants are paid more and, in his opinion, too many were on duty at football games.
Councilman Gilliard, who is also the Grady County school superintendent, asked Addleton if the overtime of School Resource Officer Duke Donaldson was reflected in the overtime report. Since the school system pays for Donaldson’s overtime as well as his salary, Gilliard said the school resource officer’s overtime should not be reflected in the police department report since it was not an expense to the city.
On Tuesday morning, City Manager Addleton said that he had not been able to make contact with Cairo Police Chief Keith Sandefur to ask him the questions the council raised.
From Aug. 10 through Sept. 7 a total of 625 hours in overtime was paid in the police department. Of that total, 179 hours were for officers on patrol; 153 hours for officers on court duty; 69 hours for investigators; and 49 hours for officers in training in addition to 175 hours for special events.
The 2015-2016 operating budget includes $254,196 for police department overtime expense. Through August, the remaining balance is $220,649.35.
The council also had questions about other departments’ overtime expenses, as well.
Councilman Douglas questioned the overtime charged to Energy Services administration – dispatch, which in the first two months of the year has exceeded the budget by 215.14 percent.
The city manager said only $1,360 had been budgeted for the year with plans to transfer dispatching to the city of Thomasville by July 1, but the conversion did not take place until mid August. According to the overtime report, $2,472.25 was spent for dispatcher overtime in July and $1,813.66 in August.
“That figure should go to zero now,” Addleton said.
Councilman Douglas also questioned the overtime expenses in the cemeteries and park division, which is 14.31 percent over budget. Only $1,000 was budgeted for the year but in July the city spent $381.87 and $761.20 in August.
Addleton said the loss of inmate labor from the Decatur County Correctional Institute had resulted in overtime expenses during the busy mowing season.
“We should be more than off setting some of that overtime cost on savings from not having the inmates. I will check to see if that overtime will continue,” Addleton said.

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