Officers, firefighters and other public employees amassed about $173,000 in overtime and related costs accommodating the Democratic presidential debate in Westerville last month, according to a cost compilation released by the city.
Westerville officials expect to be reimbursed by CNN, co-sponsor of the event, for the costs, 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 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 sheriff’s office 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 nearly $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 central Ohio and Otterbein University, drawing a combined television and radio audience of 16.6 million people and hundreds of thousands of social media posts.