Detroit is Not Really Tracking the 'Comp Time' of its Employees

FOIA would cost us $100,000 to find out

Employees who claim as many overtime hours as city of Detroit police officers can also rack up lots of associated “comp time.” That’s what they call the extra time off the city gives to employees who put in extra hours, as an alternative to extra overtime pay. Employees are allowed to bank those hours for use at a later time, and can even cash out their comp time when they retire.

Even though accumulated comp time is a liability the city may have to pay some day, Detroit does not keep a running tally of how much of it officers are owed. When asked for this information, officials sent an email saying they can only report the comp time accrued during the current year. They said that compiling the full amount would take 10,000 hours and cost more than $100,000.

“This will not be a fast process,” said an attorney in the city’s law department in an email.

ForTheRecord says: Michigan Capitol Confidential will pass on paying Detroit $100,000. But best management practices (and common sense) suggest its accountants should have a handle on the magnitude of this liability, given that it appears to be a potential future claim on the city’s finances. Plus, it’s not as if overtime fraud has been a stranger to the city, so sorting this one out shouldn't be an afterthought.