The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration spent more on overtime pay at its branches in both July and August than in any month since November 2010, state data show.
The branches spent $115,014 on overtime in July and $114,181 in August, according to data from StateStat, the Governor's Office's data analysis division. That compares with $81,274 and $95,710, respectively, in the same months last year. The most overtime in fiscal 2012 was in May, when overtime spending reached $103,721.
The increase in spending comes after the agency spent $965,269 for branch workers' overtime pay last fiscal year, overspending its available $893,530 budget by about 8 percent. The MVA increased the overtime budget this fiscal year to $982,000.
The bulk of the overtime spending occurred in the Baltimore region, which overspent its overtime budget by 30 percent.
The numbers do not account for all overtime expenses in the department, which has slightly more than 1,500 employees. The numbers include only expenses incurred at locations where residents go for services like driver's license renewals or vehicle registrations.
The overtime pay allows workers to help all customers who are waiting in line when the office's doors officially close at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or at noon on Saturdays, said department spokesman Buel Young.
The MVA also sees customer traffic ebb and flow seasonally, Young said. "It would be irresponsible for the MVA to staff for peak periods because during the low periods these resources would be underutilized. Thus, the MVA is staffed for an average workflow and uses overtime to supplement during the peak periods."
The amount of business the branches see also depends on how many people need to renew their driver's licenses in a given year. The MVA is able to forecast whether the year will be busier than the last -- which is the reason for this year's overtime budget increase, Young said.
But among the departments in the 14 state agencies StateStat monitors, departments like the State Highway Administration are more likely to deal with fluctuations in overtime pay as a result of weather and other uncontrollable circumstances, said StateStat Deputy Director Sam Sidh.