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About $173,000 in OT and other costs incurred for Democratic debate at Otterbein University - News - The Columbus Dispatch


About $173,000 in overtime and related costs was amassed by police officers, firefighters and other public employees for the Democratic presidential debate at Otterbein University in Westerville last month. The biggest portion of the total extra wage costs, more than $132,000, went to pay Westerville police officers and deputy sheriffs,

Law-enforcement officers, firefighters and other public employees amassed about $173,000 in overtime and related costs to accommodate the Democratic presidential debate in Westerville last month, according to a cost compilation released by the city.

Westerville officials expect to be reimbursed for the costs by CNN, co-sponsor of the event, said Christa Dickey, the city’s spokeswoman.

Public crews put in more than 2,260 hours of overtime during the Oct. 15 event and the days leading up to it, including 1,400-plus hours by Westerville employees and 866 by Franklin County sheriff’s office employees.

A spreadsheet compiled by the city noted debate-related work starting in late September. In addition to providing security, opening and closing streets and other duties, public workers converted code for responders’ radios, operated drones, and, in at least one case, "did not take lunch."

The biggest portion of the total extra wage costs — more than $132,000 — went to pay Westerville police officers and county deputies.

Of the remainder, about $8,700 was for firefighters’ overtime costs, $7,400-plus went to the city’s electric and service employees, and $4,146 covered communications work.

Westerville and the sheriff’s office are submitting separate reimbursement requests to CNN, Dickey said.

Organizers say the debate brought positive publicity to Westerville, Otterbein University and central Ohio, drawing a combined television and radio audience of 16.6 million people and hundreds of thousands of social-media posts.

mkovac@dispatch.com

@OhioCapitalBlog


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