Politics & Government

County jail’s top overtime earner: “I get by on three or four hours sleep.”

Nobody has worked more overtime at the Pierce County Jail in the last five years than Deputy Bruce Minker.

The 55-year-old says he’s averaged at least 800 hours a year in overtime since starting work at the jail in June 1984. He averaged 1,230 hours of overtime each of the last full five years.

How does he do it? He works double shifts and sleeps little.

Minker said he’s a workaholic who doesn’t get tired. The lack of sleep and long hours don’t affect his work supervising inmates at the nearly all-felon jail, he said.

“I get by on three or four hours sleep,” said the McKenna resident, who says it takes about 34 minutes to drive to work.

(Sheriff Paul Pastor, when asked about deputies who work long hours and sleep little, told The News Tribune: “That’s something we have to watch.” But fatigue hasn’t been a problem, he said.)

Because he ranks second in seniority among deputies, Minker can get plenty of volunteer overtime. He said he’s usually only required to work mandatory overtime a couple of shifts a year.

In a recent two-week period, he clocked 112 hours of overtime at time-and-a-half. That’s in addition to 80 hours of straight time at $32.50 an hour.

His pay for the two weeks: $8,060.

Why does he do it?

“I love the overtime,” Minker said. “I drive a nice car. I have a motorcycle. I have nice things.”

Minker did cut back on overtime the last couple years to care for his son while he battled cancer. Myles Minker, 32, died in June.

Bruce Minker is past president of the corrections deputies guild. In 2012, he ran unsuccessfully for county executive attempting to unseat incumbent Pat McCarthy.

Corrections deputies are scheduled to work eight-hour shifts five days a week, but there’s no limit to the number of days they can work overtime. The maximum number of total hours a deputy can work in one day is 16. And the maximum number of overtime hours in a two-week pay period is 144.

Deputy Brian Blowers, president of the corrections deputies guild, said he’s grateful for deputies like Minker who volunteer to work overtime. If they didn’t, deputies like himself who don’t want to work extra hours would be required to work mandatory shifts more often.

“They’re helping out the rest of the staff,” Blowers said.

“I’ve never been a big overtime guy,” he said. “I come in and do my eight hours and want to go home.”

More deputies have been required to work overtime this year, Blowers said. The number of times deputies had to work overtime nearly tripled from January through mid-October, compared with all of last year.

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