Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 25, 2013

In head engineer's absence, OT costs build in department

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — And even with a city engineer in place it still makes sense to hire consultants for specialized expertise, he added.

“It’s not an expense,” Dyster said. “It’s an investment and it results in the project actually being cheaper in the end, not more expensive.”  

BREAKING DOWN OVERTIME

Buzzelli, who has earned $38,586 on top of his $77,000 base salary for more than 650 hours of after-hours labor in Skurka’s absence, said that added responsibilities have made for long hours for department employees some weeks.

“I think the people here have an awful lot to be proud of,” he said. “They’ve worked a lot.”

In addition to Buzzelli’s overtime, Michael DeSantis earned $6,133, Mark Abramaytis earned $1,414 and Howard Skivington earned $1,108 in Skurka’s absence.

The department employees earned no overtime under Skurka this year, with all of the bonus pay coming after his termination.

Buzzelli said Skurka’s absence has caused a domino effect, with work being shuffled downward and everyone having to take on work that goes above their normal responsibilities.

“Everyone here deserves a great deal of credit for picking up a ball that could have easily been dropped,” Buzzelli said.

Dyster lauded the engineering department employees, saying they had done well in advancing projects in the absence of their department head.

“You’ve had a lot of people, sort of, doing a little bit more to make things work,” the mayor said. “Some of it has been compensated with overtime pay and some of it has not.”  

SEARCHING FOR AN ENGINEER

Dyster said he is working to fill the city engineer position as soon as possible, but faces several obstacles that may further delay the city’s quest to land a qualified candidate.

City council voted unanimously to overturn a Dyster veto to a salary cut to the city engineer position brought on by a council amendment to the mayor’s proposed 2013 budget that saw the position’s compensation fall from $96,000 a year to $78,000 a year.

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