OIG Follow-Up Report Finds That the Chicago Police Department Has Taken Corrective Actions Concerning Overtime Management, But Need for Reform Still Remains

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a follow-up to its audit of the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) overtime controls. Based on the Department’s responses, OIG concludes that CPD has initiated a systemwide overhaul of its overtime system, but that reform is still a substantial work in progress. CPD has fully or substantially implemented 4 corrective actions, while 7 have been partially implemented, and 2 remain unimplemented. Our 2017 audit found that CPD’s operational controls did not adequately prevent unnecessary overtime, deter abuse of minimum time provisions, or ensure that overtime was paid in compliance with policies and procedures. We also found that CPD management controls did not adequately prevent officer fatigue, control costs, or detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.

OIG made several recommendations to improve CPD’s timekeeping and overtime controls, including:

• work with the Office of Budget and Management to implement an automated timekeeping system that includes controls to ensure that timekeeping records are accurate, verifiable, and complete;
• ensure that all CPD members, timekeepers, and supervisors are trained on and familiar with timekeeping policies, as well as following these policies with the proper tools;
• establish clear expectations for management responsibilities, including accountability for unjustified overtime; and
• ensure that all timekeeping directives are consistent and up to date, as well as routinely reviewed to confirm that the policies conform with obligations under current bargaining agreements and CPD processes.

CPD described corrective actions it would take regarding most audit recommendations but disagreed with OIG’s recommendation that the Department limit the number of hours officers may work, including second jobs. CPD’s overtime overhaul includes requiring all members to swipe in and swipe out during their regular tour of duty shift using an automated time and attendance system, as well as moving from a paper-based system to an electronic system. However, additional reform—with a focus on swiping compliance, appropriate training and tools to help supervisors identify and address patterns of waste or abuse, and a policy limiting total hours and secondary employment—is still needed.

OIG has also released an advisory which found that neither CPD, nor the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), enrolled their employees in the City’s biometric timekeeping system, which helps to ensure that an employee is physically present when they clock in for work, thereby reducing the risk of time falsification and absenteeism. In response, the Office of the Mayor stated that both CFD and CPD opted not to require biometric enrollment because of the technical limitations of the system: “Instead of delaying the entire public safety automated time and attendance initiative due to these issues, the City opted to accept swipes without biometrics in the immediate term.” The CPD and CFD Timekeeping Advisory can be found on our website: bit.ly/TimekeepingAdvisory1

“OIG’s releases coincide with two significant moves by the Administration—last week’s announcement of organizational restructure to drive operational effectiveness, and the looming creation of an Office of Public Safety Administration intended to surmount substandard administrative competencies that historically constitute one of the greatest strains on innovation and reform. Collectively, those moves pose a meaningful prospect for getting historically rampant overtime expenses under control,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “Based on the findings released by OIG today, the road to getting a full handle on costly overtime in the Department remains a long one. On the one hand, the follow-up to our October 2017 CPD Overtime Audit shows that more than two years later, CPD has begun implementing much-needed corrective actions but full implementation and the internal accountability mechanisms needed to assure full compliance remain lagging. As a result, unnecessary and unaccounted for overtime practices drain critical resources needed for officer training and support and other key foundational components needed for the long-term reform efforts now underway. For CPD to most effectively inhabit its mission to serve and protect the City of Chicago and its residents through constitutional, community-informed and supported policing, it is important that everyone employed by the Department effectively and appropriately utilize their time and resources. This includes not only minimizing the risk of time falsification and absenteeism, but also being able to incorporate practices that ensure officers are not overworked to a degree that undermines their well-being. Our reports today also highlight another drag on innovation and reform, which the reorganization now presents with the opportunity for a hard reset—purchasing and implementing technological solutions without the appropriate analysis and planning needed to make full and best use of the new tools we purchase with public funds—here timekeeping technologies with biometric readers that have yet to be activated because of larger system constraints. We find the Department increasingly appreciative of OIG’s work drawing out these issues, and we hope its sharpened focus on them brings demonstrable improvements that will benefit all.”

The CPD Overtime Follow-Up can be found on OIG’s website: bit.ly/OvertimeFollowUp

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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: www.igchicago.org.