JEA Paid More Than $12 Million in Overtime in 2010 | Business

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JEA Paid More Than $12 Million in Overtime in 2010
Business, News, Politics
JEA Paid More Than $12 Million in Overtime in 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Bob Cole is out on the banks of the St. Johns River every chance he can get.

Cole said fishing is pretty much like paying his electric bill: he never knows what he will get.

"The month before last it was $303, but this time I got it yesterday, Saturday it was $160.

Cole said his JEA bills on average have gone up $100 a month.

While he is paying more, the electric authority has paid out $12.4 million in overtime in just the last year.

DATABASE: See What JEA Employees Earn

JEA said overtime makes up less than 8 percent of the salary base, which is $158 million.

"This past year was the best year we had operationally in JEA's history. We know how to do a lot more with a lot less," said JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce.

Boyce said $12 million in overtime is not bad. In fact, it's 30 percent less than what JEA paid to workers three years ago.

JEA records show the highest paid in overtime is an IT employee.

His base salary is more than $91,000, and he made well over $61,000 in OT in the last twelve months.

Boyce said the reason why is the tech had technical projects to finish, which required a special skill set.

"From that much they could probably hired another guy to give somebody else a job," said Cole.

Boyce said that is always considered. "If it looks like we are going to have a recurring situation, we will hire someone. But you have to think of when you hire someone you have to count benefits as well. So, sometimes it's much more efficient to pay overtime than to bring in another person."

Cole said he's okay helping to pay for the overtime because he wants the luxury of having what he needs.  "These guys go out and climb poles in lightning, they deserve to get whatever they get."

Some of the overtime money --$460,000 -- will be reimbursed to JEA.  Other cities are paying that bill because they hired out JEA to help them in an emergency.

JEA says overtime is not the reason why electric bills are up; it is because of high fuel prices.




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