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State Senate calls for audit of excessive overtime, unpaid leave

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 4:25 a.m. HST, Apr 5, 2012

The full Senate approved a resolution Wednesday calling for an audit of state agencies and long-time department practices that can give employees excessive amounts of nonbase compensation, such as overtime and unpaid leave.

An audit was recommended by a special Senate committee formed to review employee compensation amid reports of overpayments and so-called "pension spiking" resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in overpayments to state workers.

Most of the overpayments stemmed from poor record-keeping of leave time that resulted in workers getting more than they were due. The state is trying to collect about $1.5 million in overpayments, some of it dating to 1984.

The state auditor is asked to review, among other issues, the use of overtime pay, excessive use of sick leave and other forms of compensation which may contribute to increased payments to employees and inflate pension payments.

The non-binding resolution also asks the auditor to investigate patterns of abuse and look for any specific instances of spiking — a practice in which employees earn substantially more than their base pay near the end of their careers to boost future retirement pay.

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