Miss. government tries to reduce workers' overtime

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Some Mississippi government agencies are trying to rein in their budgets by reducing employees’ overtime work.

The state Department of Corrections is on track to save $2 million a year in overtime pay by working with the private firm called Kronos management group. David Herndon of Kronos told The Clarion-Ledger that at the department’s overtime was reduced by more than $160,000 per month from October 2009 to July 2010.

Time worked is collected as it occurs, rather than after the fact through paper time sheets. The system alerts supervisors before overtime is worked and keeps up with information about absences.

Records show Mississippi government agencies paid nearly $15 million for overtime last year. Much of that was in the Department of Corrections and the Department of Mental Health.

Cuts are recommended for most of state government during the fiscal year that begins next July 1, and some lawmakers are looking for ways to replicate savings by mandating efficiency policies. Sen. Merle Flowers, R-Southaven, is leading a Senate subcommittee on efficiencies.

“There is so much room for cost savings,” Flowers said. “As we all know, the state is in a tight budget situation, so anything we can do will help.”

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Suzanne Singletary said the agency started working with Kronos management group after hearing about it from the Rankin County School District.

“It takes the guesswork out of knowing if the employee is at work — if they are late or came early — anywhere in the state,” Singletary said.

She said the system has increased employee morale “because it invokes fairness for all staff.”

“Employees’ actual time is recorded based on time worked — not time guessed or miscalculated,” Singletary said.