Overtime Abuse Continues in Oakland Police Department, Auditor Finds.

The Oakland Police Department (OPD) has reduced overtime hours for sworn officers by 20 percent since 2014-15, but continues to allow overtime abuse, the Oakland city auditor reported June 11.

The department does not enforce its Voluntary Overtime Policy, and several officers “continue to work excessive overtime hours,” the auditor stated.

“We identified three sworn staff that worked more than 70 days without a day off, in violation of the Department’s policy,” the auditor reported. “We also identified instances in which OPD staff worked overtime when they were on paid leave such as sick, holiday, bereavement, military, and family medical leave, in violation of the Department’s policy.”

The auditor also found:

  • The city “has not addressed any of the questionable compensation practices” identified in a 2015 audit.

  • The officers’ contract with the city allows them to defer overtime pay and be paid later. “This practice is unique to Oakland and creates an administrative burden to process the deferred payments,” the auditor said.

  • The city “still does not realistically budget for overtime.” The Police Department exceeded its overtime budget an average of $13.7 million per year over the last four fiscal years.

  • The city has not considered historical spending in developing a balanced budget, nor does it recognize reimbursable overtime revenue, thus contributing to the consistent underfunding of the overtime budget.

  • Although OPD has developed better reports for monitoring overtime since a 2015 audit, “these reports are not timely and OPD management staff does not consistently use them.”

  • The Police Department has not taken sufficient steps to document the authorization and approval of overtime.

  • The department does not collect payments in advance of special events, as the Municipal Code requires, and lacks policies and procedures to ensure invoices to recover costs from staffing special events are processed in a timely manner.

  • The department does not adequately enforce a provision in the contract between the city and the police officers’ union prohibiting officers from receiving compensatory time off for working special events.

The auditor found that one officer is responsible for most decision-making for special event policing – including planning, determining the number of officers needed to staff an event, and invoicing the event sponsor – and that officer was the second-highest overtime earner for the last five fiscal years, consistently assigning himself to work many of the special events.

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