TSA overtime costs county as much as an employee

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 13, 2013 at 12:13 a.m.
Updated May 14, 2013 at 12:14 a.m.

Victoria County sheriff's deputies are earning enough overtime working at Victoria Regional Airport to account for more than a new hire's annual salary.

Victoria County Commissioners approved pulling $55,000 from the unallocated budget Monday to cover overtime costs for airport security mandated by the Transportation Security Administration.

While the TSA reimburses the county about half the cost, the county is still left with about $50,000 in expenses, said County Administrative Services Director Joyce Dean.

According to the county budget, an entry-level patrol deputy earns $44,683.

Airport Manager Jason Milewski said if TSA would allow, he would prefer to go through a private security company to save money.

"In order to guarantee we would have a deputy there, we have to pay off-duty officers," Milewski said. "Since we're part of the county, and the county employs the deputies, we have to pay overtime rates."

Because the current airline has four flights daily rather than two, the cost for security has increased, he said.

County Commissioner Clint Ives said the county amends that portion of the budget about twice a year.

"We advertised and approved a position, but it was never filled," he said of an employee to work the airport security.

Once benefits are factored in, the cost of a full-time employee could exceed what they are already paying for overtime, he said.

Milewski said the shift would call for having someone at the airport from 6 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

"That's a long day for somebody," he said. "When you add all that up, it doesn't save a whole bunch, but it does save some. We've been talking with the court about that quite a bit."

At one point, the TSA reimbursed the county nearly 100 percent of the cost, Milewski said.

Dean said nowadays, the TSA pays about half the cost.

The issue will likely come up when commissioners consider the 2013-14 budget, Ives said.



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