As reported this week in NJ.Com, County Correctional facilities across New Jersey spent approximately $185.7 million on overtime for correction officers, who clocked in approximately 3.9 million hours at the time and a half rate between 2010 and 2012, according to a report by the New Jersey State Comptroller.

Out of the 21 counties ranked by the Office of the State Comptroller in a report released Thursday — Salem, Cumberland and Mercer counties were ranked as the worst offenders in overtime expenditures. According to the report, the three facilities spent twice the state average of their total expenditures on overtime between 2010 and 2012.

In addition to having a problem with overtimes, Salem is also in need of a staffing analysis, the comptroller’s report states, which has not been performed since 2002.

According to the comptroller’s report, Cape May County Correctional Center (CMCC) is ranked as having the least amount of overtime for its officers.

Whenever Don Barbati and I negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, overtime is always a “hot button” item.  Despite what many governmental agencies may want the taxpayers to believe, County Correctional Officers are routinely burdened with being assigned “too much” overtime.  While officers may sometime enjoy or want to take advantage of additional compensation that is derived from overtime; the amount of “mandatory overtime” that is assigned and worked in County Correctional Facilities detracts from the Officers’ quality of life and contributes to job “burnout” which can lead to dangerous working conditions and thus injury.  In regard to the last three County Correctional contracts that I negotiated this past year, the Collective Negotiations Units all submitted contract proposals that we thought would reduce the amount of overtime that officers received.  These proposals were submitted due to the burdens excessive overtime placed on the officers which lead to the destruction of their quality of life.  However, as perplexing as it may sound, management often opposed these proposals for a multitude of reasons.

The correctional facilities that are operated by the State of New Jersey have overtime costs under control.  Clearly, this leads to a better quality of life for these officers.  Proper planning and staffing by competent County administrations will drasticly reduced the amount of overtime and the costs associated with the same.  This in turn will lead to Officers’ enjoying a better quality of life which leads to more productive employees in the workplace.  This is a proven empirical fact, and not just speculation and conjecture offered by the author.  Therefore if the administrations can solve this overtime issue, not only will the county taxpayers benefit, but more importantly, those public safety officers that work inside the institutional walls will also enjoy a higher quality of life.

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.