Sheriff Office overtime catches Eagle County’s eye |

Sheriff Office overtime catches Eagle County’s eye

Chris Outcalt
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office has already exceeded part of its 2009 overtime budget.

When the commissioners finalized this year’s budget, it included $55,000 of time-and-a-half pay for the sheriff’s department. By April 15, the department had paid $75,000 in overtime to employees.

The number caught the commissioners eyes and the board has asked the sheriff’s department to explain the numbers.

The Sheriff’s Office says a majority of the money spent on overtime so far this year is a result of paying officers to work holidays ” a cost that’s unavoidable.

“There’s no way” the department could stick to the $55,000 figure during the year, said Administrative Lieutenant Kim Andree.

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“That’s something we’ve tried to explain,” Andree said. “It would be nice if everyone didn’t work on holidays, but there’s nothing you can do about it.”

The sheriff’s budget also includes a separate amount set aside for what the county calls straight-pay overtime ” the regular salary amount an officer makes when they work between 80 and 86 hours in a week. Because of the way officers schedules are set up, they’re only eligible to receive time-and-a-half pay after working 86 hours in two weeks.

The department has $130,000 budgeted for straight-pay overtime in 2009. As of April 15, $38,000 of that money had been used.

Several pay periods at the beginning of this year included holidays and contributed to the overtime figure, Andree said.

“In a period of five payrolls we have six holidays,” she said.

The Christmas holidays showed up on paychecks in January, Andree said.

Regardless of the amount of overtime pay the department has used, now is a good time to go over the sheriff’s staffing plan and talk about how overtime is a part of that, Commissioner Jon Stavney said.

“In my mind the real issue is not what happened so far this year,” Stavney said. “The real issue is the staffing. Ideally if you’re fully staffed, you’re not going to be using a lot of overtime.”

Staff Writer Chris Outcalt can be reached at 970-748-2931 or

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