ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department is making changes, it hopes will prevent officers from abusing overtime. It’s in response to an internal investigation that found former public information officer Simon Drobik worked the system to get paid for work he didn’t do. Drobik racked up tens of thousands of dollars of overtime. The investigation found it could potentially amount to criminal fraud and that supervisors looked the other way.
“Unlike previous efforts to reform overtime, these changes will address weaknesses in supervision and oversight, while increasing discipline for violations,” said APD Interim Chief Harold Medina in a news release Tuesday. “Supervisors should be held to the highest standards. Only then, will we achieve true accountability for taxpayer money.”
Now, a new policy means overtime will require approval from higher up the chain from a commander or above. The city will audit chiefs’ overtime records and increase discipline for violations. Drobik resigned in July.
According to the same news release, under the new policy, the following changes will be made
- Almost all forms of overtime and any exception to normal practice now require a Commander or above approval. This should reduce the instances of overtime being claimed but not worked.
- In addition, the department has implemented a compensatory time reduction plan. Compensatory time, or “comp time,” has been a source of abuse in the past. This reduction plan will minimize comp time that is paid out once the cap has been met.
- APD has also added numerous audit functions for anyone approving overtime. To further ensure transparency, the Payroll Department will now release regular reports to help those in leadership keep track of overtime and detect any issues as a warning system.
- The Chief’s Overtime Office additionally will audit 30 percent of all Chief’s Overtime forms to make sure dispatch records match time worked on the forms submitted for reimbursement.
- The sanctions for every section of the policy have been significantly raised to equate the sanction for a violation of the seriousness of this issue and to ensure robust compliance.
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