LA DOT Defends Against Claims of Excessive Overtime

A recent audit of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation revealed substantial overtime pay for workers in the traffic paint and sign division – on average, workers were paid $48,000 in overtime compared to just over $8,000 for workers in other city departments, including police and firefighters. But while the figures may sound excessive, an audit found there wasn’t enough evidence to support a legal claim against the division. And what’s more, the workers say the additional overtime was earned.

According to Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Seleta Reynolds, the overtime occurred during a time during the tenure of former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. During his time in office, more than 100 miles of bike lanes were commissioned and thousands of city streets had been recently resurfaced, requiring extensive hours of striping. At that time, the division employed just three crews and had access to only two trucks, resulting in significant backlogs of work which, in turn, caused the overtime to build up.

Since the audit, the city has approved the hiring of at least 20 additional employees for the traffic paint and sign division, sending a clear signal the division has been overworked.

Even the audit noted staffing levels in the division declined 20 percent since 2010 and conceded new projects could have resulted in overtime.

“There is not evidence to show that the work was not done,” City Controller Ron Galperin said, “but then again, there is not evidence to show what was done.”

Reynolds said the division will implement improvements recommended following the audit, including keeping better records and implementing improvements in monitoring overtime.

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