Union members and older employees in Montgomery County show up for work less than their nonunion and younger counterparts, according to a report from the county's oversight program.
The CountyStat report shows nonunion members spent nearly 87 percent of paid hours on "mission-related activities," whereas union members were available about 5 percent less during the third quarter of the recently completed fiscal year.
Just a 1 percent increase in worker availability -- or about 20 hours per person annually -- would net the equivalent of nearly 100 additional workers, the study found.
Union members are older on average than the rest of the work force, said CountyStat manager Chris Cihlar, pointing to more generous leave packages. After filling a nearly $1 billion budget gap, he said, countyofficials need to develop clearer standards for worker efficiency.
"We're trying to develop guidelines for a [worker] productivity measure," he said. "Ideally, we want to calculate the number of positions we need to have."
Worker availability Nonunion members: 86.8 percent International Association of Fire Fighters: 81.3 percent Fraternal Order of Police: 83.3 percent Municipal and County Government Employees Organization: 83.7 percent
Through the third quarter of fiscal 2010, at least 1,022 employees at the top of the pay scale received 60 hours of comp time, which amounted to a $2.8 million loss in salary and benefits for the county. The report also called for supervisors to monitor sick leave abuse, improve safety standards, and control training and travel time.
About 14 percent of employees from departments surveyed by CountyStat in a previous study had less than one week of sick leave, while almost one-fifth of workers' comp claims came from that same group. Employees with fewer sick days were more likely to file workers' comp claims in every department surveyed, the report found.