Photo Caption: Athens County Engineer Archie Stanley
Athens County Engineer Archie Stanley on Tuesday addressed a concern that has cropped up about his office in recent months, since a Democratic primary challenger to his re-election bid emerged in the form of local engineer Jeff Maiden.
Several county residents, including Maiden, have questioned the amount of overtime hours accrued by deputy engineer Mike Canterbury. Records from the county Auditor's Office show that Canterbury worked 221.2 hours of overtime in 2009, which jumped up to 277.6 in 2010 and to 545.6 in 2011.
With that much overtime in 2011, Canterbury ended up making $99,068, which is close to $9,000 more than Stanley's own $90,174 salary.
"In trying to familiarize myself with the finances of the Engineer's Department, I have some concerns," Maiden said.
Stanley, meanwhile, pointed to the extremely high number of road slips the county had to deal with last year and Canterbury's role as liaison to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Someone had to accompany them, so Mike accompanied the FEMA representatives to all of the projects in Athens County that were funded by them this past year," Stanley said.
Stanley said that there were four times as many slippage problems in the county in 2011 as the previous year.
"Many of those projects were covered by FEMA, and so was Mike's overtime with FEMA," he said. "And then Mike's overtime was higher this year mainly because I kept saying to Mike we need to get caught up."
Stanley confirmed that the office employees at the county Engineer's Department also worked a lot of FEMA-related overtime, which he said explains why the overtime of Mike Canterbury's wife, Kathy Ann Canterbury, jumped from 14.2 hours in 2009 to 84 hours in 2010 and 109 hours in 2011.
"FEMA was operating right out of our office here," he said. "So they were getting stuff together from our files to be able to document for reimbursement. We've already got some of that reimbursement and we're going to get quite a bit more."
Maiden, however, suggested that Canterbury should be salaried.
"Mike Canterbury is the deputy engineer of operations and the second in command at the Engineer's Department," Maiden said in an emailed statement. "This level of management should be a salaried position, not hourly. At his current hourly rate, his income without overtime will be $71,843 in 2012."
Maiden characterized that level of compensation as "already very generous for a manager that is not an engineer."
From his math, accounting for holiday time and sick time, Maiden said that Canterbury had the equivalent of 572 hours of overtime when you add in the "comp" time he received in 2011.
"When you remove the days that you are unlikely to receive overtime – vacation days, sick days, personal days, and holidays – and you assume that he works Monday through Friday every week – this means that he would have had to work nearly 11 hours per day, five days per week, all year long," Maiden said. "That seems excessive."
Maiden also addressed the overtime hours of Kathy Canterbury, saying that she is listed on the Athens County government website as the billings and payroll officer.
"Kathy Canterbury had the equivalent of 165 hours of overtime when you add in the 'comp' time that she received," he said. "That is more overtime than the road workers received that were out plowing snow last winter. I don't understand why this married couple has such an excessive amount of overtime."
Stanley said that regular call-outs play a role in overtime hours as well.
"Any time that it snows or there are (fallen) trees, we have three take-home cars," he said. "Mike probably is out longer than any of us. He covers a bit bigger territory."
Stanley said that by virtue of Canterbury's job he ends up with more overtime than everybody else.
"This year was a very special year," he said. "We even got in trouble with our union for working so much overtime. They got tired of working on Fridays and Saturdays, but we had to get caught up."
He said that he crews were often so busy cleaning up roads that it was difficult to get to the department's regular maintenance schedule.
"We had to defer a lot of our chip and seal from last year because we were so busy with emergency projects from the declared disaster," he said.
Stanley said that FEMA sends in people from out of state and often they live in motels, so they want to get the job done as quickly as possible.
"We end up working overtime because they wanted to work overtime, and they need us to help get stuff out of the files," he said.