WASHINGTON - The Department of Public Works (DPW) redirected $800,000 to cover "unanticipated" fiscal 2009 overtime roughly two weeks before an audit revealed alleged overtime abuses in the agency, according to the Washington Examiner.

A "reprogramming" request submitted Nov. 27 to the D.C. Council sought permission to move $3.2 million within DPW to "offset cost overruns in the Fleet services due to unanticipated related expenses." One-quarter of the total was for overtime. The council's review lasted 14 days and the Fenty administration's request was approved without a vote, the Examiner said.

Of the $3.2 million diverted, $2.4 million covered an extension of the fiscal 2009 leaf collection program from three to 12 months, Nancee Lyons, an agency spokeswoman, told the Examiner.  The remainder, $800,000, covered unbudgeted overtime, such as "snow clearing and other urgent weather events, numerous special events like the Mayor's turkey giveaway event over the holiday, and last year's presidential inauguration," according to Lyons.

Public works was budgeted $3.3 million in fiscal 2009 for overtime but spent $4.19 million. The bulk of the questionable overtime payments fell to the solid waste and fleet management administrations, reported the Examiner.

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles has vowed to fire any employees involved in illegal activity, but that decision must wait for a final audit report and further investigation by the inspector general, the Examiner reported.