Oskaloosa City Council working towards digital time card system

by Dennis Sharkey

The city of Oskaloosa is moving toward a digital time card system for employees.Councilwoman Kathy Griffin has been working on the project for about two months and has found two different systems that would work for city employees.

One system would use a plastic card that employees would swipe through a computer. The other system would use time cards like the city has now but would feature a digital stamp. Currently city employees write in hours on the cards.Police Chief Rick Jones has already told the council that he is not interested in a new system.

Councilman Gary Bryant said it could be an issue with public works employees called out to an emergency. He said sometimes the employee will go straight to the work site to assess the situation.

Griffin, who has been pushing for a new system, said a new system is needed because the current system does not work.

“Ultimately it’s about accountability,” Griffin said. “There’s reasons for what we are doing. We need something better in place.”

Councilman John Norman said he has recently visited with other cities in the county to see how their operations work and said many of them use the swipe card system. He said the city of Meriden uses the card for employees to record how much time they work on a particular project. Norman said the city could be charging $150 for a $500 project.

“The way we’re doing cleanup now is costing us money at somebody else’s benefit,” Norman said.

Councilman Dale Mooney said he would like to see a program in which the employee’s benefits and vacations are tied into the card. He said it would make it easier to perform payroll and employees could keep better track of their benefits.

Councilwoman Emily Malsbury said she sees no problems with the current system the city uses to track time. She said employees could chart cleanup costs now without a new system.

“We don’t need to implement that,” Malsbury said. “We can do that now.”

Griffin said other cities are using the programs without any issues and that the city of Oskaloosa should be able to do the same.

“Why do any of it if we trust our employees?” Malsbury asked.

Cost to get the swipe card program started would be about $400. Many other logistics and issues would have to be worked out before a system is implemented, such as where computers will be located and how police personnel would fit in.

“There are a lot of things to consider,” Griffin said. “We’ve got a lot more legwork to do.”

In other actions:

• The council approved a new random drug testing and initial hiring testing for all full-time city employees.

The discussion began more than a month ago when the council began looking at a plan for CDL drivers.

However, some on the council believe it should be implemented for everyone.

“In order to make it fair for everyone it should,” Griffin said.

The program has an initial setup fee of about $275 but costs $2.75 a month thereafter for each employee.

• A deal has been worked that will require Police Chief Jones to attend the first meeting of every month but he is not happy about it according to Malsbury.

She said Jones told her that it was not fair that he would have to attend a monthly meeting and city Superintendent Bill Heard does not attend meetings. Malsbury said she saw Jones’ point.

“I do see the point of why would you require one and not the other,” Malsbury said.

Griffin took exception to Jones’ issue and said Heard reports to Bryant weekly.

“There’s a big difference between a police chief and a maintenance supervisor,” Griffin said.

“I do see the point of why would you require one and not the other,” Malsbury said.

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Posted by on Aug 4 2012. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Oskaloosa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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