Media Release: BPD responds to overtime audit findings
Baltimore, Md. (Jan. 22, 2024) – On Jan. 17, 2024, the Office of Legislative Audits released its performance audit of the “Baltimore Police Department – A Review of Overtime Policies, Procedures, and Activity,” encompassing the time period of December 2020 through June 2022. The same report was made public on Jan. 22, 2024.
The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is working diligently and has made much progress over the last three years to create a system of accountability and oversight. The payroll system in use prior to the current system of record had multiple inherent weaknesses that allowed for employee abuse of time entry, leave tracking and overtime documentation.
As noted in the Department’s response, the beginning of the audit period coincided with the City of Baltimore and BPD's implementation of the new HR/Payroll system called Workday, which replaced the outdated legacy payroll system. This includes a period of deployment, education and training, and stabilization for the new system. While the changes were substantial and challenging in implementation, the BPD took the initiative to configure Workday to provide more robust internal controls. Those controls included a comprehensive overhaul of BPD’s administrative operations, which took the Department out of paper-based processes to digital time entry with employee self-service tools.
The BPD continues to ensure our employees are compliant with all payroll policies and procedures and has developed a plan to implement the audit recommendations, but also wishes to emphasize several key points:
- BPD has made numerous process changes over the past three years as part of the Workday implementation (the go-live and stabilization period of which coincided with the audit period) that have contributed to increased transparency and accountability regarding overtime practices.
- Because of the audit beginning during this time period, we do not believe the report itself reflects a full picture of the circumstances (including the COVID-19 pandemic) that led to the results in the findings nor the present state of our payroll system.
- The audit found no weaknesses with the Workday configuration of internal controls and the policy changes around time tracking and overtime processes.
As a city agency, the BPD must work collaboratively with other city agencies by using the limited resources available. During the time period reflected in this audit, we faced multiple challenges that directly affected our overtime outcomes, including weaknesses in the existing payroll system, the implementation of Workday and staffing shortages.
However, the BPD has a proven track record of improving via audits and we have already upgraded our payroll processes, re-written payroll-related policies, started transitioning to the third-party Off Duty Management system and began to establish the necessary oversight needed to monitor and prevent overtime abuses. We are also working to rollout an accessible, user-friendly overtime dashboard. Additionally, BPD is implementing new initiatives and activities to improve compliance, transparency and accountability:
- Provide additional training and education on responsibilities and payroll policy compliance
- Mandate attendance to monthly training for repeat policy non-compliance offenders identified via audits and command review
- Conduct regular internal audits of overtime activity
- Host quarterly internal meetings to review General Fund budgets inclusive of overtime budgets
- Improve distribution of overtime in a fair and equitable manner that is also compliant with BPD policy
We look forward to continuing our work and fulfilling the recommendations in the audit.
Please see the full overtime audit report at the Office of Legislative Audit's website.