NEW ORLEANS -- Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux wants to change the compensation rules for city officials getting overtime during a declared emergency such as a hurricane. The suggestion comes after outrage over news that a dozen of the top officials for Mayor Mitch Landrieu made over $10,000 each in overtime during Hurricane Isaac.
"That the current rule is problematic was revealed by its recent exercise following Hurricane Isaac. The awarding of overtime to executives may have been deserved but it was expensive," said Quatrevaux in a letter to Kevin Wildes, chairman of the Civil Service Commission.
Quatrevaux suggested that the Civil Service Commission "consider a rule change to institute a leave policy of awarding compensatory time, which would be applicable both in emergency situations and in situations where employees are required to work outside of their normal duty hours in addition to their regular day time duties."
Quatrevaux suggestion differs from other plans to change the overtime rules.
According to an Associated Press story, Robert Hagmann, personnel administrator for the Department of Civil Service, recommended eliminating overtime pay for city officials earning more than $100,000 a year, while Deputy Mayor Andy Kopplin suggested keeping emergency pay as it is but capping city officials with the rank of deputy director or higher from also getting overtime or clocking more than 12 hours a day at emergency rates. Under Kopplin's plan, officials would still be required to work as many as needed during the emergency.
Currently, city officials receive time-and-a-half in an emergency for the first 40 hours worked during a week and double-time thereafter. Wildes has said publicly that Department of Civil Service is likely to change the rules.