When it comes to collecting overtime from the federal government, crown retired U.s. Navy repair foreman Anthony Marzolla the champion.

Marzolla, whose base salary was $28,300, put in for 65 hours of overtime each week last year -- some of it for time he spent attending four parties at the Guantanomo Bay naval base where he worked. As a result he grossed about $85,000 last year, which is $10,000 more than Vice President Walter Mondale is paid.

Marzolla's extraordinary work schedule emerged from federal court testimony last week in Norfolk during his trial on charges of defrauding the government by claiming excessive overtime. He was acquitted by a jury that apparently accepted his contention that because he was on call during the four parties, his overtime claims were justified.

"This man worked enormous hours in order to get the fleet ready," said Marzolla's lawyer, Robert Epstein, in a telephone interview yesterday. "There were times he worked around the clock because the work had to be done."

The U.S. Attorney's Office charged Marzolla with reporting 52 hours of phony overtime. His Navy supervisors testified that part of those hours were actually spent at Christmas and farewell parties. But the supervisors said they signed Marzolla's timecards without question because they trusted him.

Epstein told the jury that Marzolla, 56, was on call on each occasion and was once summoned from a party to return to the ship repair department where he worked.

"He would go to the shop and get the crew working before going to the affair," said Epstein. "He always went back and double-checked their work later."

Marzolla, a 21-year federal employe, could not be reached for comment. Epstein said his client retired earlier this year and was living in Florida.

John Moore, spokesman for the federal government's Office of Personnel Management, said cases like Marzolla's arise on occasion. But Moore cited a recent General Accounting Office report that concluded most federal workers were not cheating the government.

"The bottom line is that a lot of federal workers put in a lot of time they don't get paid for," said Moore.