Ohio Firefighters Balk at Use of Time Clocks

DAYTON, OH &#8211 More than half the city of Dayton’s employees are not using time clocks five years after the city spent $650,000 to install them to better monitor employees, a Dayton Daily News investigation has found.

The city’s police and firefighter ranks, which hover between 650 and 700, are not clocking in for work on the Kronos Inc. equipment installed in 2006. Other city departments have used the system as far back as 2003.

Union officials for police and firefighters have opposed the time clocks, saying they are unrealistic for workers who frequently go directly to court hearings or crime or fire scenes from work. But the city administration had hoped to have it fully implemented by now. City officials said they still plan to someday fully use the system.

The city signed a two-year contract with Kronos in 2006 to implement the system.

“Probably it was the intent to get it done by now,” said Stanley Earley, an assistant city manager.

The clocks have sat idle in the city’s five police district headquarters, including downtown’s Public Safety Building. Some clocks are being used by civilians working in the police department. Other employees, like water and sewer department workers, have been using the Kronos time clocks since about 2003.

A police officer’s time is monitored and logged by his supervisor, then entered into the Kronos system. Firefighters have their time logged in another system by a supervisor.

The city has spent an additional $185,000 since 2009 in support fees and maintenance of the Kronos system. Kronos is headquartered in Chelmsford, Mass.

Police and fire union leaders said they voiced concerns at the time the contract was signed because time clocks are not conducive to their work environment and will cost the city “thousands more in overtime.”

“We were against them then and we are against them now,” said Randy Beane, Dayton Fraternal of Police John C. Post Lodge 44 president. “Officers donate so much time because typically they show up early before their shift and make sure their equipment is in order.”

Beane said it’s also unrealistic to ask off-duty officers or detectives to clock in if they are responding to an emergency scene or are called in to court.

Jim Cox, president of the Dayton International Association of Firefighters Local 136, said his members often donate time to help each other out.

“We have district chiefs that come in at 6:30 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. because they need to get together and talk about what happened overnight,” Cox said. “Oncoming firefighters usually get there early so they are ready to go at 7 a.m. If there is a fire or incident 10 minutes before 7 they go ahead and go so the other guys can go home.”

Both Cox and Beane said they’ve taken their concerns to fire Chief Herbert Redden and police Chief Richard Biehl.

Redden said he is meeting with the city’s attorney soon and plans to ask questions raised by the union. “We are not a traditional 8-to-4 or 9-to-5 operation so I need to get some questions answered about how this system handles that.”

City officials said they hope police officers will begin using the time clocks within the coming weeks, but the timeline for firefighters is unclear.

There are a little more than 1,200 employees paid through the city’s general fund budget.

Many of the area’s largest public safety departments, including the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office, Huber Heights, Kettering and Trotwood, do not use a time-clock system.

From Firehouse.com

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