Pope Visit Among Factors for 10 Percent Increase in Pa. Government Overtime

The state police department spent a lot of money when Pope Francis came to town, according to a report by the Sunday Times of Scranton.

The pope and his "little car" in Philadelphia. Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Pennsylvania’s state workers were paid a two-decade record high in overtime last year, and Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia is a major factor, according to an analysis of payroll records by the Sunday Times of Scranton.

The $250 million paid in overtime reflects an increase of 10 percent from 2014. Overtime payments have increased steadily throughout the past five years, as unfilled vacancies and hiring freezes become more common and existing employees work longer to make up for it, the newspaper found.

Overtime related to Pope Francis‘s visit last September cost more than $700,000, according to the report. Because state police provided some 800 troopers and other personnel to help out the city and the Secret Service, this money came from the state police budget.

While the department’s overtime spending is down by $4 million from 2014, the newspaper reports, some of the heavy overtime costs of 2014 can be attributed to the 48-day manhunt for alleged killer Eric Frein, which cost the department $7 million in overtime that year.

The newspaper found that the state police department has the fourth highest demand in overtime. Workers in the Department of Corrections required the most overtime, followed by the Department of Transportation and Human Services.

Around-the-clock patient care at state hospitals and supervision of state prison inmates also attributed to the spike in overtime. Prison overtime has doubled since 2010, according to the newspaper, from $49 million to $100 million.

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