When Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino took office in January of 2016, he declared “war” on overtime in an effort to protect taxpayers. A year later, Santino and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito have announced major victories for taxpayers in the Supervisor’s campaign against overtime costs, which they have termed “public enemy number one.”
Under Santino’s leadership, the Town of Hempstead has slashed overtime costs by $2.5 million, a 45 percent reduction (compared to the 2015 figure) during the Supervisor’s first 12 months as Chief Executive Officer of America’s largest township.
“I have declared war on overtime,” Santino said. “Slashing overtime costs has been a priority for me, delivering on a promise to reduce government costs that are borne by taxpayers.”
“Our work to reduce overtime across the town has resulted in a major victory for taxpayers,” D’Esposito said. “I’m proud to support Supervisor Santino’s mission to maintain quality services while doing everything we can to protect our taxpayers.”
Santino’s attack on overtime costs reverses a trend that saw town overtime costs rise from $4.8 million in 2013 to $5.5 million in 2015. Throughout Santino’s battle against overtime, he incorporated an array of successful “tactics,” including the expansion of work shifts that covered time periods that employees previously performed tasks on overtime and the cross-training workers to perform multiple tasks. For example, parks department staff that experience a reduced work load in the winter are now utilized for jobs such as pothole repairs and snow removal during colder months.
Saving money and cutting costs while maintaining quality services have been hallmarks of Santino’s first year as Supervisor. In addition to saving more than $2.5 million in overtime, Santino has cut payroll costs, trimmed the size of the workforce and cut the hours for part-time staff. In fact, the number of full-time staff in 2017 has been reduced by 3.3 percent over staffing levels of four years ago.
Incorporating these cost-saving tactics has factored into Santino’s 2017 budget which includes a $19 million reduction in payroll costs. What’s more, the Supervisor’s move to reduce the maximum number of hours per week that part-time employees can work has saved taxpayers $5.5 million in 2016.
“By holding managers accountable, cross-training staff and employing innovative approaches to performing tasks, we are saving taxpayers money,” Santino said. “We’ve demonstrated that you can reduce the size of the workforce, cut hours for part-time staff and still drastically slash overtime costs. Workforce efficiency – it’s part of my commitment to taxpayers and my approach to responsible budgeting.”