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Erie County Ny Comptroller Review of Prison Overtime 2011

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September 2011

A REVIEW OF OVERTIME AT THE ERIE COUNTY
HOLDING CENTER AND THE ERIE COUNTY
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

MARK C. POLONCARZ
ERIE COUNTY COMPTROLLER

Michael R. Szukala, MBA, CIA
Deputy Comptroller - Audit & Control

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To the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority:
Audit examined overtime within the Division of Jail Management for the period January 2007
through June 2011. We1 focused on those cost centers with the highest percentage of overtime
(“OT”). We also re-examined issues that were discussed in our 2007 audits of the Erie County
Holding Center and the Erie County Correctional Facility when we thought they were
appropriate.

Both the number of hours and cost to the County for mandated overtime within the Sheriff’s
Office Division of Jail Management has increased over the past several years at an unsustainable
rate, over 90 percent of which comes from three specific areas (Security and Prisoner
Transportation at the Holding Center and Security at the Correctional Facility). For example in
2010 alone, in these three areas, deputies and corrections officers logged more than 290,000
overtime hours at a cost of more than $10 million ( approximately $32.7 million for regular time
and overtime combined). The number of mandated overtime hours has risen so greatly primarily
because of a dramatic increase in the number of posts at the Holding Center and Correctional
Facility since 2007. All posts have been mandated by the either the U.S. Department of Justice
(“DOJ”) or the New York State Commission on Corrections (“COC”) and cannot be eliminated.
Audit’s recommendations will not eliminate all overtime within Jail Management. Staffing
levels needed, and subsequent additional costs, to eliminate all overtime at the Holding Center
and Corrections Facility would be prohibitively high—over 760 persons, resulting in the hiring
of over 109 new deputies/corrections officers—far exceed any savings derived from the
elimination of overtime. Additionally, this increase would result in overstaffing of facilities
during times of reduced workload.
It is also important to note that the COC is also performing an analysis of posts at the Holding
Center. Preliminary discussions indicate that additional posts will be recommended by the COC.
Failure to respond to the additional workload these posts would represent will drive overtime
costs even higher than the present levels.
In an effort to maximize net savings associated with reducing mandatory overtime, Audit has
completed a thorough analysis of staffing levels within the Division of Jail Management and
recommends hiring a total of sixty-seven (67) deputies/corrections officers, which we project
will save a net of more than $2.9 million over the next five years.
We recommend that the number of deputies within both the Security–Holding Center and
Prisoner Transport functions at the Holding Center total 449. This would require hiring
fifty (50) new deputies. The savings for hiring the fifty (50) new deputies is over $1.8
million over the next five years.
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We recommend that the number of correction officers within the Security – Correctional
Facility cost center total 205. This would require hiring seventeen (17) new correction
officers. The savings for hiring the seventeen (17) new correction officers is over $1.1
million over the next five years.

In the spring of 2011, the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority (“ECFSA”) requested the Erie
County Comptroller’s Division of Audit and Control (“Audit”) to perform an analysis of
overtime within Erie County. Specifically, Audit was asked to examine the top three
Departments with overtime within Erie County and recommend ways to eliminate or reduce that
overtime.
The three largest Departments of overtime in Erie County are the Sheriff’s Office, the
Department of Public Works (“DPW”) and the Department of Social Services (“DSS”).
The Division with the most overtime in Erie County is the Sheriff’s Office Division of Jail
Management (“Jail Management”). In 2010, Jail Management generated over 314,000 hours of
overtime at a cost of over $10.8 million dollars.
There are many different forms of overtime within the Sheriff’s Office. They are represented
within the County’s accounting system, SAP, by numeric codes.
Table 1
Division of Jail Management
Pay Code
2010 Amounts 2
Regular Time
$
25,358,000
Overtime at 1.5
$
10,855,000
Total

$

36,213,000

Within Jail Management, there are ten (10) cost centers. Three of these cost centers generate
over 90 percent of all the Jail Management overtime at time and one-half. Security at the
Holding Center, Security at the Correctional Facility and Prisoner Transport were responsible for
over 290,000 overtime hours in 2010 at a cost of over $10 million. Our analysis focused on
these three areas for regular time and overtime at time and one-half (pay codes 2000 and 2001).

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What causes the use of overtime at the Holding Center and Correctional Facility?
How can this overtime be eliminated or reduced?

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In 2007, Audit released two separate audits of Jail Management, one of the Holding Center in
January, and one of the Correctional Facility in July.3 Both audits featured an examination of
overtime at the covered facilities. Unfortunately, comparisons between the 2007 audits and this
report are difficult to make because there have been many changes made at both the Holding
Center and the Correctional Facility since then. As a result, we performed a new analysis and
obtained new data to support our conclusions in this report.
Overtime at the Holding Center and the Correctional Facility is determined by the number of
posts that must be manned, the hours deputies are available to work and the number of deputies
available to man either facility. Each of these issues will be discussed individually for both the
Holding Center and the Correctional Facility.

" # $
Table 2 below shows the increase in regular time and overtime hours from 2007 to 2011 for
employees working security and transportation at the Holding Center. The 2011 Actual column
represents data from January 1 through June 30, 2011. The Annualized column shows what
those hours are projected to be for all of 2011.
Table 2
2007

2008

2009

2010

2011
Actual

2011
Annualized

Security Overtime Hours

194,054.13

167,140.59

155,592.60

200,320.03

100,369.41

200,738.82

Security Regular Time Hours

478,638.75

570,128.00

580,781.50

580,076.00

292,480.25

584,960.50

Transportation OT Hours

18,614.68

15,638.55

14,878.74

17,290.58

7,489.00

14,978.00

Transportation Regular Time Hours

83,677.50

85,648.75

81,842.50

76,914.50

35,344.00

70,688.00

774,985.06

838,555.89

833,095.34

874,601.11

435,682.66

871,365.32

Total Hours Worked

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In 2010, overtime hours worked accounted for nearly 25 percent of all time worked for these two
cost centers.
When comparing the total hours worked from 2007 to the present, an alarming trend develops –
a more than 12 percent growth rate over the past five years. We remind the reader that these are
hours – not dollars – and therefore, inflation does not enter into this calculation.

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Deputies and correction officers at both facilities have a clause in their contracts that grants
“Line-Up Time.” “Line-Up Time” allows those employees who arrive fifteen minutes before
their shift to include those minutes as worked, and at a rate of time and one-half. Other job titles
(Captain, Lieutenant and Sergeant) receive “Line-Up Time” if they arrive thirty minutes early.
Although paid at time and one-half, this time is not considered overtime and is not counted in the
overtime listed within this analysis.

'
A “post” is a specific location or task that a deputy performs at the Holding Center. Every post
at the Holding Center is either required by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the
New York State Commission on Corrections “(COC”) or has been added as the result of policy
decisions made by the Sheriff.
The Holding Center posts include employees working prisoner transport between various
facilities, such as courts and the Holding Center, within the Holding Center itself and those
deputies that work at the Alden Annex. The Alden Annex is a structure located on the grounds
of the Correctional Facility in Alden. Although the Annex is located at the Correctional Facility,
the deputies assigned there are accounted for as Holding Center employees.
Some posts are “fixed posts,” meaning they are manned by a deputy 24 hours a day, seven days a
week. An example would be the Watch Commander post, which is the officer in charge of the
facility’s post and continuously staffed at all times. Other posts are known as “variable posts,”
meaning they can change based on daily needs. An example would be the “suicide watch” post,
where deputies observe inmates who may attempt to kill or injure themselves. This post varies
as prisoners who require such observation enter and leave the facility. There are also other posts
are manned only on specific days or specific shifts, such as the Sunday “Church” post or the
facility barber.
A post with a capacity of forty-eight (48) prisoners must be manned regardless of the number of
actual prisoners housed. This explains why reductions in the numbers of prisoners at the
Holding Center do not always result in decreases in the number of posts or overtime hours. It
requires a significant drop in prisoners to effect staffing levels.

Posts vary based on not only the amount and differing types of prisoners, but also by day of the
week and shift. The Holding Center is always operating, with deputies continuously cycling in
and out according to three shifts (in military time): 2300-0700 (Night), 0700-1500 (Day) and
1500-2300 (Evening). The Night shift has the lowest staffing because prisoners are asleep and
demand the least amount of oversight. The Day shift, however, has the most staffing because
activities such as mealtime, processing of prisoners and transporting prisoners to and from court
take place during these hours.
Mondays are the busiest days at the Holding Center because prisoners arrested over the weekend
are processed. Consequently, Sundays are the least busy days because the courts are closed and
no processing is done.
Since 2007, the Holding Center has been the subject of a number of lawsuits and rulings by both
the DOJ and the COC. As a result, the number of posts have dramatically increased and some
posts’ duties have changed at the Holding Center.
As an example, the Stipulated Settlement between the DOJ and the County included the
following requirement:
The County will agree to create an additional First Deputy Superintendent
position, job group 15, in the Sheriff’s Office, Jail Management Division, to
facilitate, coordinate, and implement each and every provision of this Stipulated
Settlement and any future stipulated settlements entered into between the
Defendants and the United States as they may occur in these proceedings who
will act as a Stipulated Settlement Coordinator to serve as a point of contact for
the United States and the DOJ.
The COC has spoken with senior staff at the Holding Center. Based upon those discussions, it is
expected that additional posts will be mandated at the Holding Center by the COC. The exact
number and type of posts cannot be determined at this time.
The cost of even a single, new post at the Holding Center is substantial. One single post,
manned on all shifts and on all days, adds 8,736 required man-hours annually. Staffing 8,736
hours requires more than five full-time deputies using 209 eight hour shifts. At the average
regular time rate of 22.834, this is an annual cost of over $199,000.
The staffing “rubber band” is stretched very tight at the Holding Center. Some relief or a
manpower reserve is needed.

" # $
Audit began its analysis of overtime by using the Sheriff’s Office’s Shift Reports. A Shift
Report lists all the posts at the Holding Center and who manned that post. Audit took a large
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sample, just under 20 percent of all shifts worked between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011,
which we believe, adequately, represents typical current activity at the Holding Center.
We developed a model that listed posts at the Holding Center, which was then compared to
actual activity as reflected in the County’s SAP payroll records. Audit discovered that
employees listed within the “Security-Holding Center” cost center did not exclusively perform
duties associated with that cost center. Likewise, Audit also discovered that employees listed in
other cost centers within Jail Management performed Security–Holding Center tasks.
For example, Audit found persons listed within cost centers at the Holding Center standing posts
at the Correctional Facility.
Audit has no objection to Jail Management assigning staff based upon need, and without regard
to the deputies’ category within the County’s payroll system. It is axiomatic within Audit that
managers should manage without adapting to the accounting system. It is the accounting system
that should adapt to management. The County’s accounting system, SAP, does not link with the
Excel spreadsheets used to record post assignments within the Holding Center. (See “The
Scheduling System within Jail Management” on page 18 for more details on this issue.) SAP’s
inability to link with any scheduling data used by the Sheriff makes performing a meaningful
analysis on payroll records challenging.
This challenge is addressed by making two important assumptions. (1) Audit assumes that there
are no unnecessary posts at the Holding Center and (2) there is no unnecessary overtime at the
Holding Center.
We believe that it would be appropriate to assume that all the posts at the Holding Center are
necessary. Representatives from both the DOJ and COC have thoroughly reviewed operations at
the facility and have made recommendations on the number of posts they believe are necessary.
These law-enforcement professionals have experience and education unavailable to Audit staff
and we are confident in their ability to accurately assess operations at the Holding Center. Audit
believes that the same individuals who made recommendations on new posts would also have
discussed any excess posts in their comments. They did not. Meetings with senior staff of the
Holding Center confirm that neither the DOJ nor the COC have recommended that any posts be
eliminated.
Audit also believes that the assumption that there is no unnecessary overtime at the Holding
Center is appropriate as well. During numerous conversations between deputies assigned to Jail
Management, none have ever stated that they believe the facility has unnecessary posts or that
deputies perform meaningless tasks on regular time or overtime. These deputies are experienced
professionals and thoroughly knowledgeable on operations at the Holding Center.
Based on these two assumptions, the measure of persons needed to man the Holding Center
should, therefore, be a function of the 8 hour posts worked, regardless of cost center. Table 3
shows that the number of 8 hours posts worked by deputies in the cost centers with the most
overtime, Security and Transportation, in 2010 was 109,325. Audit’s estimate of the number of

8 hour posts that need to be manned at the Holding Center in a week is 2,103 or 109,356
annually.
Table 3
2007

2008

2009

2010

2011
Annualized

Security Overtime Hours

194,054.13

167,140.59

155,592.60

200,320.03

200,738.82

Security Regular Time Hours

478,638.75

570,128.00

580,781.50

580,076.00

584,960.50

Transportation Overtime Hours

18,614.68

15,638.55

14,878.74

17,290.58

14,978.00

Transportation Regular Time Hours

83,677.50

85,648.75

81,842.50

76,914.50

70,688.00

Total Hours Worked

774,985.06

838,555.89

833,095.34

874,601.11

871,365.32

Total Shifts Worked

96,873.13

104,819.49

104,136.92

109,325.14

108,920.67

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The 2007 audit showed that deputies at the Holding Center were expected to work 203 eighthour regular time shifts per year5. In a study released in 2004, the COC suggested that the
average deputy work 209 eight-hour regular time shifts per year.6 Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office
suggested in 2006 that the average deputy worked 206 eight-hour regular time shifts per year.7
Table 4
Security - Holding Center

2007

2008

2009

2010

Security Regular Time Hours

478,638.8

570,128.0

580,781.5

580,076.0

2011
Annualized
584,960.5

Transportation Regular Time
Hours
Total Regular Time Hours

83,677.5

85,648.8

81,842.5

76,914.5

70,688.0

562,316.3

655,776.8

662,624.0

656,990.5

655,648.5

Total Regular Time Shifts

70,289.5

81,972.1

82,828.0

82,123.8

81,956.1

336.0

393.0

394.0

392.0

399.0

209.2

208.6

210.2

209.5

205.4

Deputies in these two areas
(June Staffing Level)
Regular Time Shifts per Deputy

An analysis of payroll data for 2007 through June of 2011 shows that deputies are working an
average of 209 eight-hour regular time shifts annually. Audit uses 209 eight-hour regular time
shifts in our analysis of the Holding Center.
We do note that the trend for eight-hour regular time shifts worked in 2011 appears to be down
from 2010 and 2009. We have pointed this out to senior Holding Center staff and they will
monitor this throughout the remainder of 2011.

5

Audit of the Erie County Holding Center, Page 16, figure 9.
Audit of the Erie County Holding Center, Page 16, figure 10.
7
Audit of the Erie County Holding Center, Page 16.
6

Almost all deputies assigned to work at the Holding Center work some amount of overtime. The
overtime and total number of eight-hour shifts that deputies in Security and Prisoner Transport
have worked since 2007 are detailed below.
Table 5
2007
Average Overtime 8 Hour Shifts Worked
Per Person
Average Regular Time 8 Hour Shifts
Worked Per Person
Average Total 8 Hour Shifts worked per
person

2008

2009

2010

2011
Annualized

79.12

58.14

54.08

69.39

67.58

209.20

208.58

210.22

209.50

205.40

288.31

266.72

264.31

278.89

272.98

Significantly, deputies at the Holding Center have averaged more than one, eight-hour overtime
shift a week since January of 2007. Considering overtime for deputies is paid at a time and onehalf rate makes the reduction in overtime shifts of specific importance.

"

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In 2007, Audit recommended that the Buffalo Lockup, a location within the Holding Center
where the City of Buffalo holds and processes prisoners, be closed, or the agreement with the
City that specified the dollar amount the County was to be reimbursed for holding prisoners be
renegotiated. More than three years later in early 2011, an agreement was reached with the City
where the Buffalo Lockup will be returned to their control and manned by City employees.
Because some prisoners will now be processed and released by the City, this change will lower
the overall number of prisoners held at the Holding Center. There are presently nineteen (19)
Holding Center deputies working within the Buffalo Lockup. These deputies will be released
from duties at the Buffalo Lockup sometime in 2012.
The cost to the County for manning the Buffalo Lockup from January 2007 through July 2011
was over $4.5 million for salaries and overtime, and over $2.1 million for fringe benefits.
However, the City only reimbursed the County $4.96 million during that time frame. This means
that the County has lost more than $1.6 million maintaining the Buffalo Lockup after Audit
recommended the agreement be renegotiated or ended.

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The Erie County 2011 Adopted Budget shows 355 positions for security at the Holding Center
and an additional 45 positions allocated for prisoner transportation. Because budgeted positions
do not always equal filled positions, Audit uses the actual filled positions in its calculations
instead. With that distinction made, in June 2011, 358 positions were filled under security for
the Holding Center and 41 positions were filled for prisoner transport.

"

*

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Table 6 below shows the increase in regular time and overtime hours from 2007 to 2011 for
employees working security at the Correctional Facility. The 2011 Actual column represents
data from January 1 through June 30, 2011. The Annualized column shows what those hours are
projected to be for all of 2011.
Table 6
Security - Correctional
Facility

2007

2008

2009

2010

Entire Year OT Hours

34,260.14

17,888.22

29,108.24

72,868.19

320,187.24

322,364.74

329,361.29

Entire Year Regular Hours
Total Hours Worked

354,447.38

340,152.96

358,469.53

2011 Annualized

329,871.90

65,416.58
321,382.16

402,740.09

386,798.74

The hours worked reinforce the trend already discussed with overtime at the Holding Center more than a 26 percent growth rate over the past five years at the Correctional Facility.
As with our analysis of the Holding Center, Audit used the Sheriff’s shift reports to determine
which posts were manned during which shifts on which days. For consistency, Audit used the
same weeks analyzed for the Holding Center. Table 7 shows the findings from our sample.
Table 7
2300-0700 shift
Monday
35

Tuesday
36

Wednesday
37

Thursday
35

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Total Posts

35

36

34

248

56

50

49

408

44

42

41

303

0700-1500 shift
63

66

64

60
1500-2300 Shift

44

44

45

43

Average Posts Worked per Week

959

Audit’s estimate of the number of posts that need to be manned at the Correctional Facility in a
week is 959, or 49,868 annually. This estimate is slightly higher than the number of posts
estimated to be worked at the Correctional Facility in 2011 by SAP payroll data. The difference
between the two estimates is equal to approximately four posts per day. The number of inmates
that demand one-on-one observation, such as a “suicide watch,” as well as the corrections
officers required for inmate transport to courts and for medical attention fluctuates daily, and can
account for this difference.
The Correctional Facility is unique in that it has deputies/corrections officers represented by two
different unions – Teamsters and CSEA. Previously, Teamster deputies were responsible for all
pre-sentenced and parole violator inmates (housed in the Holding Center and the Correctional
Facility Annex) and CSEA correction officers were responsible only for sentenced inmates. This

division of responsibility between the two unions made it impossible for correction officers to be
working in other cost centers. This, coupled with the fact that the staff size of the Correctional
Facility is approximately one-half that of the Holding Center, allowed Audit to develop a model
of the annual posts at the Correctional Facility.
A recent court decision now allows the co-mingling of pre-sentenced and sentenced inmates by
their security and/or special classification. These inmates will then be supervised by either
deputies or correction officers, allowing for more flexibility in deputy/correction officer
assignment. While this change does not directly decrease overall overtime, it increases the pool
of employees available to supervise inmates at the Correctional Facility. By increasing the pool
of deputies/correction officers available to work overtime, it does help alleviate the situation of
Lieutenants working overtime guarding inmates at the Correctional Facility, because there are no
correction officers available to cover a specific post. The Sheriff now has flexibility in moving
deputies to cover correction officer’s posts at the Correctional Facility as needed to ensure proper
staffing and post coverage.
Table 8
2007

2008

2009

2010

34,260.14

17,888.22

29,108.24

72,868.19

65,416.58

Security Regular Time Hours

320,187.24

322,264.74

329,361.29

329,871.90

321,382.16

Total Hours Worked

354,447.38

340,152.96

358,469.53

402,740.09

386,798.74

Total Shifts Worked

44,305.92

42,519.12

44,808.69

50,342.51

48,349.84

Security Overtime Hours

" #

*

*

(

2011
Annualized

)

The 2007 audit showed that correction officers at the Correctional Facility were expected to
work 197 eight-hour regular time shifts per year.8 In a study released in 2004, the COC
suggested that the average guard work 209 eight-hour regular time shifts per year.9 The DOJ
National Institute of Corrections (NICIC) recommends correction officers work 200 eight-hour
regular time shifts per year.10 Lastly, the Sheriff’s Office suggested in 2006 that the average
correction officer worked 206 eight-hour regular time shifts per year.11 As shown in Table 9, we
found that the correction officer at the Correctional Facility worked an average of 203 eight-hour
regular time shifts each in 2010, and are on schedule to work nearly 214 eight-hour shifts in
2011.

8

Audit of the Erie County Correctional Facility, Page 15, figure 6.
Audit of the Erie County Holding Center, Page 16, figure 10.
10
United States Department of Justice’s National Institute of Corrections Staffing Analysis Workbook for Jails
Appendix D – http://static.nicic.gov/Librray/016827.pdf
11
Audit of the Erie County Holding Center, Page 16.
9

Table 9
Security – Correctional Facility

2007

2008

2009

2010

Security Regular Time Hours

320,187.2

322,264.7

329,361.3

329,871.9

2011
Annualized
321,382.2

Total Regular Time Shifts

40,023.4

40,283.1

41,170.2

41,234.0

40,172.8

Corrections Officers in this area
(June)
Regular Time Shifts per Deputy

199

192

197

203

188

201.1

209.8

209.0

203.1

213.7

An analysis of payroll data for 2007 through June of 2011 shows that correction officers are
working an average of 207 eight-hour regular time shifts annually. Audit uses 208 eight-hour
regular time shifts in its analysis of the Correctional Facility.
Almost all correction officers assigned to work at the Correctional Facility work some amount of
overtime. The overtime and total number of eight-hour regular time shifts that correction
officers in security have worked since 2007 are detailed below.
Table 10
2007
Average Overtime Shifts Worked Per
Person
Average Regular Time Shifts Worked Per
Person
Average Total Shifts worked per person

2008

2009

2010

2011
Annualized

21.52

11.65

18.47

44.87

43.50

201.12

209.81

208.99

203.12

213.68

222.64

221.46

227.46

247.99

257.18

The number of overtime shifts worked by correction officers in the Correctional Facility has
increased steadily from 2008 to 2010, despite the number of correction officers slightly
increasing. As in the Holding Center, the Correctional Facility has been required by the COC
and DOJ to increase the number of posts covered on a daily basis. The 2007 Audit of the
Correctional Facility showed that correction officers manned 41,203 posts annually.12 In 2011,
this number has increased to 49,868 – an increase of 8,665 posts or 21 percent. The fact that the
number of filled corrections officer positions has decreased from 203 in 2010, to 188 in 2011,
has magnified the burden placed on the remaining officers to man the increased number of posts,
resulting in even more mandatory overtime.
The increases in posts between 2005 and 2011 at the Correctional Facility includes a tripling of
posts monitoring the perimeter of the facility, a tripling of posts observing suicidal inmates and a
tripling of posts assigned to transport inmates to and from various hospitals. One sample week
included 42 more posts in 2011 than in 2005.
Table 10 shows that correction officers at the Correctional Facility have averaged more than 43
overtime eight-hour shifts per year since January 2010. In simpler terms, about one out of every
six eight-hour shifts worked by corrections officers is an overtime shift.

12

2007 Audit of the Erie County Correctional Facility, Page 18

"

*

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The Erie County 2011 Adopted Budget shows 201 positions for security at the Correctional
Facility. As Table 9 shows, budgeted positions do not always equal filled positions. Because of
this, Audit uses the actual filled positions in its calculations. In June 2011, 188 positions were
filled under security for the Correctional Facility.

"

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$

Too many deputies/correction officers cost the County too much in salaries and benefits.
However, too few deputies/correction officers compel those remaining to work a punishing
schedule that increases employee fatigue and drives ever-increasing overtime costs. Audit
proposes a solution, with the following assumptions:
We took the actual 2010 fringe benefits costs for Jail Management and used that data in our
model. We found fringe benefits costs to be 47 percent of salary for employees within Jail
Management. Fringe Benefits costs have both a fixed cost and a variable component. Examples
of variable components are payroll taxes and pension charges. A fixed fringe benefits cost
example is health insurance costs. The charges for health insurance do not vary based upon what
an employee earns.
We used two percentages to allocate fringe benefits costs. Overtime was charged the fringe
benefit rate of 22 percent. This represents only the variable costs associated with fringe benefits.
Regular time earnings were charged fringe benefits at the rate of 47 percent. We use a
percentage to reflect these fixed costs because the percentage fairly reflects the County’s actual
expenses.
The hourly overtime rate we use in our analysis of the Holding Center, assuming no new hires, is
$34.8013. This is the actual composite overtime rate for employees in the Security and Prisoner
Transport cost centers for 2011. The hourly overtime rate we use in our analysis of the
Correctional Facility for that same period and assuming no new hires, is $35.56.14 We increase
these overtime rates in later years to reflect employee annual salary step increases. The salary
step increases for both Teamster Guards and CSEA Corrections Officers averages 5% for the
first five steps of the contract. Audit uses 2.5% as an annual increase to be conservative in our
calculations.

13
14

See Exhibit One for how this figure was calculated.
See Exhibit Three for how this figure was calculated.

HOLDING CENTER
Deputies at the Holding Center will average 209 regular time shifts per year;
An acceptable amount of overtime for the deputies at the Holding Center is 35 shifts per
year. Presently the Holding Center is averaging over 67 overtime shifts per year (Table
5);
Our calculation for the number of posts that must be manned is correct. That number is
109,356 annually (109,325 shifts were worked in 2010, see Table 3);
The current number of deputies assigned to security and prisoner transport at the Holding
Center is 399 (Table 4);
As per the Sheriff’s senior staff, it takes three months to get a new hire to full
productivity; and,
A reasonable estimate of fringe-benefits costs for deputies is 47 percent of their salary for
regular time, and 22 percent for overtime costs;
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Correction Officers at the Correctional Facility will average 208 regular time shifts per
year;
An acceptable amount of overtime for the correction officers at the Correctional Facility
is 35 shifts per year. They are presently averaging over 43 per year (Table 10);
Our calculation of the number of posts that must be manned is correct. That number is
959 per week or 49,868 annually (Table 7);
The current number of correction officers assigned to security at the Correctional Facility
is 188 (Table 9);
As per the Sheriff’s senior staff, it takes three months to get a new hire to full
productivity; and,
A reasonable estimate of fringe-benefits costs for corrections officers is 47 percent of
their salary for regular time, and 22 percent for overtime costs;
We extended our cost savings projections out five years. History shows that changes at the
Sheriff’s Department and within Jail Management make any predictions beyond that time span
unrealistic.

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We recommend:
The number of deputies within both the Security–Holding Center and Prisoner Transport
functions at the Holding Center total 449. This would require hiring fifty (50) new
deputies. Taking into account training time, which is considered to be non-productive,
the first year would cost the County about $184 thousand dollars. Savings rise, then fall
in the following years, as overtime rates for new employees approach the current average
overtime rate. The cost over the next five years of hiring fifty (50) new deputies is $18.9

million. The cost of the 463,600 hours of overtime these deputies prevent is over $20.7
million.
The savings for hiring the fifty (50) new deputies is over $1.8 million over the next five
years.
That the number of correction officers within the Security – Correctional Facility total
205. This would require hiring seventeen (17) new correction officers. Taking into
account training time, the first year would save the County $33 thousand dollars. The
cost of hiring these seventeen new officers is $6.07 million over the next five years. The
cost of the 156,978 hours of overtime these correction officers prevent is over $7.1
million.
The savings for hiring the seventeen (17) new correction officers is over $1.1 million over
the next five years.
The total deputies/corrections officers Audit recommends hiring is sixty-seven (67).
Our projected savings over the next five years is over $2.9 million.
Note that our recommendation does not eliminate all overtime. Overtime varies by shift, day and
task. Hiring the number of deputies/correction officers needed to eliminate all overtime would
result in the overstaffing of Jail Management. To completely eliminate the overtime hours
worked in 2010 would require over 760 deputies and correction officers working only in the cost
centers we analyzed.
The calculations supporting our findings are presented in Exhibits One through Four. Audit
reminds the reader that the two facilities are different in many ways, not the least is the different
salary schedules for the different unions.

++
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In the 2007 audit of the Holding Center, it was revealed that the State and the Federal
Government reimburses the County for certain prisoners held at the facility. Those
reimbursement rates were less than the actual cost to the County of holding those prisoners. We
discussed with Holding Center officials the changes that had taken place since our 2007 audit on
this issue.
The Sheriff’s Office calculates the cost of a prisoner at the Holding Center to be $158.29 per day
in 2011. Audit concurs with this figure.

New York State has eliminated all reimbursements for prisoners held at the Holding Center on
parole violation charges. Prisoners being held for the State on other charges now generate
reimbursement to the County only if held for ten (10) business days or more. No State prisoners
were held for ten (10) or more business days at the Holding Center in 2010. As a result, in 2010
no reimbursement was received for any of the 3,172 days the 664 State prisoners were held at the
Holding Center. The cost to the County of this unfunded New York State mandate is over
$500,000 annually.
The Federal Government reimbursed the County $95.42 per day in 2010 for Federal prisoners
held at the Holding Center, which has not changed since 2006. The cost to the County after
reimbursement of housing the 304 Federal prisoners held 3,404 days in 2010 was over $214,000.
In 2007, we recommended that the County Executive, the Erie County Legislature and the
ECFSA lobby the State and Federal governments to increase the reimbursement rates for
prisoners held for these groups to a rate that fairly represents the County’s costs and to reduce
the number of prisoners held under these mandates.15 We repeat that recommendation in this
report.

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The current system used to assign deputies/correction officers to posts and shifts is inadequate.
As stated previously, there are ten (10) cost centers in Jail Management, and these cost centers
cover over 670 employees working in two major locations, each with three shifts per day, every
day. The current scheduling software is a series of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (“Excel”).
Our 2007 audit recommended the Sheriff improve both the timekeeping system at the Holding
Center and move to more sophisticated software for prisoner and jail management. We are
pleased, to some extent, that the Sheriff has taken our advice: the 2005 payroll sheets used for
our 2007 audit were hand-typed. The Sheriff’s payroll sheets used for this analysis were created
in Excel. We applaud this movement from 1965 to 1995 technology, but believe the Sheriff can
do better and repeat our recommendation from 2007. Audit recommends investing in jail
management software that would allow computerized staffing and compatibility to the County’s
SAP system. Additionally, jail management software can include the ability to track inmate’s
medications, gang affiliations and medical insurance.
The Sheriff’s senior staff has indicated they are considering the purchase of jail management
software. Audit concurs with this action.

15

When the 2007 audit was concluded, the Comptroller wrote letters to State and Federal elected officials asking
that the reimbursement rates be changed.

 

 

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