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Flood forced Richland employees to work more than $1 million in extra hours

Columbia and Richland and Lexington County employees performed any number of jobs in last year’s heavy rainfall and flooding. Firefighters, for example, shuttled water to Palmetto Baptist hospital. The water was used to operate the air conditioning in the hospital while the city of Columbia’s water supply was compromised.
Columbia and Richland and Lexington County employees performed any number of jobs in last year’s heavy rainfall and flooding. Firefighters, for example, shuttled water to Palmetto Baptist hospital. The water was used to operate the air conditioning in the hospital while the city of Columbia’s water supply was compromised. FILE PHOTOGRAPH

Richland County employees earned more than $1 million in extra pay related to the historic flooding in October, newly released data show.

A spreadsheet provided by Richland County shows employees worked nearly 45,000 extra hours from Oct. 3, the day before the powerful storm hit the Midlands, until Oct. 11.

County employees worked more than 25,000 hours of overtime and earned nearly $700,000 in overtime pay related to the flooding, data show.

Some county employees who worked extra hours related to the flood were not eligible for overtime pay, spokeswoman Beverly Harris said. Of those who were, the data show:

▪ Employees of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department worked nearly 22,200 extra hours and earned more than $482,000 in additional pay related to the flooding, more than any other department.

▪ Workers at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center worked more than 7,500 extra hours and earned nearly $172,000 in extra pay.

▪ Richland County Emergency Services worked the third-most extra hours, more than 7,300, and earned nearly $167,000 in additional pay.

Harris said the county is working with a consultant to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which can reimburse up to 75 percent of the costs.

Columbia paid nearly $711,000 in overtime costs related to the flooding. City employees worked more than 27,150 overtime hours from Oct. 1-16, city spokeswoman Leshia Utsey said in November.

Lexington County’s 1,500-member staff worked 9,500 hours of flood-related overtime that will cost more than $243,000, County Administrator Joe Mergo said in November.

Columbia and Lexington County officials have said they would seek reimbursement from FEMA as well.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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