- Last Updated: 5:47 AM, November 16, 2012
- Posted: 12:29 AM, November 16, 2012
Letting criminals off the hook doesn’t come cheap.
Over the past fiscal year, the impotent Bronx District Attorney’s Office has racked up the second-highest overtime bill of the city’s five prosecutor offices — even as it trailed the other boroughs in convictions for major crimes.
Taxpayers shelled out $800,000 for 31,942 overtime hours, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Law reveal.
Bronx prosecutors have been blasted by cops and politicians for being soft on crime.
As The Post exclusively revealed in September, District Attorney Robert Johnson’s office convicted only 42.8 percent of suspects busted for violent felonies, compared with 53.7 percent across the rest of the city in 2011.
“Twenty-five percent of the cases never get prosecuted, and nearly 50 percent of the felonies don’t end in a conviction,” a city official said yesterday. “It’s a mystery why they need so much overtime.
“If anything, they should consider moving to a four-day week.”
It also took prosecutors an average of 27.7 hours to arraign suspects. The legal limit is 24 hours.
That lag can open the door for defense lawyers to challenge their clients’ arrests and sometimes get them sprung.
The average in the other boroughs is 23.1 hours.
“Our staff puts in the amount of time necessary in order to get the job done,” said a spokesman for the DA, noting the office is within its budget.
A total of 215 employees got overtime — and many cashed in with thousands in premium pay.
The top OT earner was Julissa Severino, whose title is “community associate.” She earned a base salary of $43,000 and got another $22,315 in overtime for 736 extra hours. She also got $2,498 in “total other pay.”
Tony Merino, a “community service aide,’’ earned $20,181 in overtime for 992 extra hours on top of his base salary of $28,469. His “total other pay’’ came to $2,022.
Lawyers and other executive-level workers do not get overtime.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. had the most expensive office, with a payroll of $93 million and an additional $1.14 million in overtime — but his office actually got things done.
The office boasts a felony conviction rate of 90 percent, a spokeswoman said.
Additional reporting by Laura Italiano