Some of the same Paterson officials who received thousands of dollars in overtime for responding to Hurricane Irene were paid close to $30,000 in extra pay long before the storm — and now they must give all that money back.
The state Department of Community Affairs ordered the reimbursement in a letter to city officials released Friday and suggested reforms aimed at improving fiscal management in a city that is routinely bailed out with state funds.
Paterson faces an $8 million deficit in its proposed budget. And by January, Governor Christie is expected to sign legislation that would provide the city with an additional $21 million in transitional aid, part of a $139 million package that was passed by the Legislature this week for distressed cities statewide.
Reforms advocated by the state — and by the local officials this month during a series of City Council hearings into the overtime controversy — would dramatically alter how the state’s third-largest city handles overtime for its hundreds of employees.
Chief among the recommendations from state officials is the removal of Betty Taylor as the city’s acting personnel director. The state cited her “extraordinarily poor” performance with respect to payroll functions and provided as proof two instances in which an extra zero was mistakenly added to overtime checks. One employee received $18,000 instead of $1,800.
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