Workers to start punching the clock

LISBON — Village employees will soon be using a time clock to punch in for work following action taken at this week’s village council meeting.

At the request of Mayor Joseph Morenz, council agreed to purchase time clocks to be installed in village hall, street department, water/sewer department and at the cemetery. There is no time clock for police department employees because they are logged into the computer by the dispatcher when they arrive for work.

Being a part-time mayor, Morenz said he is not in village hall on a daily basis or any of the other village buildings for that matter, so he really does not know when employees arrive for work.

“It’s kind of up to me to make sure everyone is showing up for work and on time but I don’t work full-time,” he said.

Council did not object and gave Morenz permission to purchase the time clocks, which cost $189 each.

Cemetery board member Barry James, who happened to be in attendance, reminded officials they tried the time clock thing before only to change their mind after catching flack from employees. Councilwoman Cheryl Mills said that is because the only time clock was installed at the cemetery office.

“This time every department will have it,” she said.

Morenz said after the meeting there was no particular incident that triggered his request, although people have come up to him occasionally claiming they saw a village employee engaged in personal business during the work day. He said a time clock will help him check into such claims.

“I have no way of knowing if they were at work or not, so I need better accountability … At least if I have a time clock I can look it up,” Morenz said.

At the beginning of the meeting, Council President Roger Gallo observed a moment of prayer for the family of village police officer Mike Harty, who died Tuesday after a five-month illness. Harty was hired in December 2015 and had been assigned to the county drug task force.

In other action, council agreed to let Police Chief Mike Abraham purchase a laptop computer for $1,650 he said will enable him to hold continuing education webinars for his employees, which will ultimately save the village money in travel expenses.

Some questioned the cost, noting that seemed expensive for a laptop, and Abraham said the unit was recommended by the IT person for the county clerk of courts. The village goes through the county’s system for high-speed internet service.

Abraham said it will be an HD laptop that will allow them to broadcast the webinars through the HD TV in council chambers, which is where the webinars will be held.

Council then approved Abraham’s request to spend $1,200 to hold a continuing education class in council chambers. The program is through the Jefferson County Community College and the money will pay for the two instructors who will provide the mandated training for his officers.

Abraham said the state is expected to raise continuing education requirements for law enforcement from 20 hours per year to as much as 40 hours, and having the webinar option is cheaper than sending his officers elsewhere for the training.