North Jersey Developmental Center audit finds problems with overtime, staffing

TRENTON – A state audit of the Department of Human Services’ North Jersey Developmental Center determined that a great deal of overtime was paid out, and the Center also had problems with proper staffing.

The audit issued today found  “certain weakness” in the Center’s payroll, mainly that numerous employees are receiving overtime and some shifts at the North Jersey Developmental Center aren’t adequately staffed.

The audit, which covered calendar year 2010, also found that there were too many supervisors scheduled during the week at the Passaic County Center, but not enough on weekends.

The center in Totowa paid more than $630,000 in overtime to some 75 personnel called Cottage Training Supervisors. The number of overtime hours collectively worked – 18,400 – is the equivalent of nine full-time workers, according to the audit.

Some of the minimal staffing requirements have not been met, either. For example, “while midweek staffing levels exceeded minimum requirements by an average of 15 CTSs, Saturday and Sunday coverage fell short of the required minimum by an average of 2 CTSs,” the audit recommended.

The audit recommended spreading out the CTS duties to the weekend shifts.

“The center has an adequate number of CTS to allow coverage levels that would satisfy established minimums. The center could reduce overtime hours by balancing the schedule and reassigning staff from weekdays to weekends.”

But it wasn’t just the supervisors making the big bucks.

In 2010, the North Jersey Developmental Center paid $6.5 million in overtime, which is more than 12 percent of its $55 million payroll.

The amount of overtime received by the employees varied. Some 199 workers received overtime payments that were more than 25 percent of their annual pay. Fifty nine employees earned more than half of their annual salary and two doubled their annual pay.

The audit determined that the Center’s cottage training technicians and human service assistants worked nearly 98,000 hours of overtime, which is the equivalent of 47 full-time workers.

The audit also recommended implementing a time system known as the Electronic Cost Accounting Time System that other state agencies have put in place to better track and record workers.

The audit pointed out that “while the amount of overtime earned and paid available is within the payroll records, the amount of overtime earned and accumulated as compensatory leave time is not.”

Human Services officials said they “concur” with the audit’s findings, adding that for 2011, they are on track to reduce overtime hours substantially in both departments.