Waukesha's police and fire departments are slightly exceeding anticipated overtime expenses after the first fiscal quarter in 2016, according to reports from the chiefs of both departments.
But overtime expenses might not stay where they are and may in fact decrease throughout the year, the reports said.
The city's finance committee in 2014 requested that the fire and police departments submit quarterly reports detailing overtime expenses, which have in the past exceeded budgeted amounts. The committee reviewed the 2016 first quarter reports — from Jan. 1 through March 31 — on May 31.
No action was taken on the reports by the committee. They were listed on the meeting's agenda for discussion only.
'A little higher'
'We are running a little higher than we anticipated,' said Acting Fire Chief Steve Howard, who noted that his department's overtime expenses were trending a little higher than the previous quarter.
But Howard said that was primarily due to a recent increase in long-term leave tied to personnel injuries and illnesses.
According to a memo from Howard, the fire department spent $116,118, or 35 percent, of its $340,424 overtime budget from the beginning of January to the end of March.
However, Howard said he expects the overtime expenses to drop now that his department has added six full-time firefighters.
'With simply having more bodies, more people, on each shift, our overtime has come down to where we were hoping (it would be),' Howard said.
Police department expenses
A similar memo from Police Chief Russell Jack indicated dispatch staffing shortages have accounted for some higher-than-anticipated overtime expenses.
Currently, dispatch is the department's only overtime account exceeding anticipated overtime expenses, the memo said. The department has already spent $21,224 — more than 50 percent — of its $40,000 overtime budget for 2016.
The dispatch account more than tripled its budgeted overtime expenses last year, according to city figures. The department set aside $30,000 for overtime dispatch expenses in 2015, but ended up spending $94,316.
Jack said in the memo that his department recently finished training a new dispatcher and is in the midst of hiring another one to replace a dispatcher who retired June 1.
'We will continue to monitor overtime,' he wrote, 'implement creative strategies ... and evaluate staffing levels to minimize overtime throughout the department.'