Editorial: Overworking overtime in Eagle Co.? | VailDaily.com

Editorial: Overworking overtime in Eagle Co.?

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

When is overtime a matter of public safety and when is it a way to give a surreptitious pay raise?

That was one of the bubbling issues recently when the Eagle County Commissioners questioned Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy’s overtime budget.

Hoy’s department is already past what was budgeted for overtime this year,and the commissioners want the sheriff to get control over that spending.

The commissioners claim they’re trying to get the county’s budget under control ” which has drawn loud scoffing from the board’s critics ” and Hoy says he’s trying to cut down on overtime spending. But once again, taxpayer money is going toward an outside consultant, this time to evaluate the department’s scheduling system.

Officer overtime is a tricky issue. On one hand, an officer who puts in an extra hour or three into a case one day shouldn’t be asked to work less than a full shift the next. That literally takes officers off the streets.

But there’s something odd about sending officers to training and using overtime to do it. Hoy said he’s already stopped that practice.

Overtime can be a good thing. For those who punch a clock and are willing to put in a little more time on the job, a few hours of overtime look pretty good on a paycheck.

But in a year when Eagle County property tax bills jumped about 40 percent, there will be ” and should be ‹ a lot more scrutiny of government budgets by taxpayers.

All spending, from cell phones to travel to dry-erase boards, is fair game for scrutiny. Overtime, even for police officers, is no exception.

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