NewsChannel 5 investigators highlighted problems in Cleveland's Division of Waste when it comes to overtime costs. Today, we asked tough questions of the man in charge.
The Public Works Director Michael Cox thinks the city has enough employees to handle the garbage routes despite overtime payouts totaling 274 percent of the original budget.
The budget for 2015 was $471,000 but actual payments so far total nearly $1.3 million.
"Was there something that we could have done differently? Yes, we did and we did that differently," said Cox.
He also told us in 2015, the Division of Waste had too many trucks breaking down adding hours to employees’ days. So, the city bought 25 new trucks. "The equipment just started to come in at the end of last year...we just now are getting that equipment into the streets and into our routes," Cox told us.
Cox said another problem was that too many waste employees were not coming in, so the city went to the union. "The collective bargaining agreement was signed and those things changed how people take off and how people don't take off," explained the director.
Cox said Public Works was monitoring the overtime problems throughout the year in 2015 and made more adjustments including timing the routes, adding technology to see what areas of the city have been picked up and redefining how 130,000 stops are made by collectors.
"With the change that we made, that overtime should be cut down drastically and we should not expect that kind of overtime anymore,” stated the director.
With so many issues surrounding overtime, is the director hesitant about using it now? "Let me say one thing,” said Cox. “If we have to use overtime, we will use overtime to complete our tasks."
Director Cox told us further changes were made with a new Interim-Waste Commissioner coming on board in December and with those who drive and collect on the routes.
Will it work this year? We will let you know.
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