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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Promoting A More Transparent Delaware

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John Stapleford
John holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional economics (University of Delaware), M.A. in government and planning (Southern Illinois University) and B.S. in chemistry (Denison University). He is director of the Center for Economic Policy and Analysis for the Caesar Rodney Institute and a professor emeritus of economic development from Eastern University. He most recently worked as an associate director and senior economist with Moody’s Economy.com. John was Director of the Bureau of Economic Research at the University of Delaware and the co-founder of the Delaware Small Business Development Center. He is author of a book, numerous articles in professional journals, and over one hundred applied research monographs.

Have you ever wondered which state employee receives the most compensation? (Orlando George with $454,230 in 2010…more than two and a half times what the Governor is paid. George has been paid more than $1.6 million over the past four years.) What about use of overtime and other pay by state employees? (A staff person in Health and Social Services had a salary of $58,000 in 2010 and earned an additional $132,000 in overtime and other pay.) Are you surprised that the University of Delaware received $10,000,000 as a vendor to the Delaware Department of Education in 2010? Do you know what your legislator is being paid?

Thanks to the generous support of its donors, all this and more is available to any citizen as the Caesar Rodney Institute launches its Transparent Delaware website. Transparent Delaware has the most recently available (2010) payroll and vendor data for the state of Delaware.

The payroll data has records for each individual employee together with their regular pay, overtime pay and “other” pay. “Other” pay is a catch all for almost 100 different sources of compensation, the most common of which are holiday pay, shift differential, call back pay, and pay for extra responsibilities such as coaching or sponsoring a club.

The vendor data lists every individual payment made to any vendor during the past seven fiscal years.

The website software allows visitors to examine the payroll and vendor data by branch of government or department or even agency, to track trends in the expenditures, to sort on any data field, to print tables, and to extract the data tables into an EXCEL file.

Good government is transparent government. CRI hopes that this additional transparency tool will improve government efficiency and give citizens greater insights into how their tax dollars are being used.

Please visit Transparent Delaware and do your own analysis of our state government’s spending. A quick glance at the data shows that there will be a great deal to consider.

As a first pass, CRI looked at “overtime” pay and “other” pay in the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in 2010. (“Other” pay includes more than 100 categories, the most important of which are holiday pay, shift differentials, call back pay, and sick day buyouts.)  While the majority of DHSS employees collect just their salary, 40% received overtime pay in 2010. Of those, 24 employees earned overtime plus other pay that exceeded 100% of their salaries.

Among the most hardworking were:

Name                                          Salary             Overtime              Other             Total

 

Ekemoa Wogu                     $57,846            $107,762               $23,876         $189,984

Janet Hiscox                         $53,201            $ 97,527                $ 4,480          $155,208

Rose Spruance                    $20,589            $ 31,022                 $12,863         $ 64,475

Annette Draughn                $52,466            $ 59,492                $15,200         $127,158

 

Another 38 DHSS employees earned overtime and other pay equal to 75% to 99% of their salaries, while 71 employees came in between 50% to 74%, 212 between 25% and 49%, and 531 from 10% to 24%.

There could be many explanations for this unusual compensation pattern. Some employees may be working double shifts throughout the year. Overall, DHSS may be understaffed. Perhaps given the generous benefits paid to state employees (over 40% of salary), it saves money to work existing staff overtime.

Regardless, the data begs for an explanation. Is there appropriate management oversight for overtime and other pay?

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