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Mayor seeks ‘accountability’ with time clocks for workers


Published: Tue, August 28, 2012 @ 12:06 a.m.

photo

This is one of the 13 hand-detection time clocks being installed in city buildings in Youngstown. Starting Sept. 10, city employees, except police officers and firefighters, will be required to use the clocks.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

In his ongoing effort to increase accountability among city workers, Mayor Charles Sammarone is having hand-detection time clocks installed at city buildings.

City employees — except police officers and firefighters — will be required to use the time clocks starting Sept. 10.

“We met with the unions and there are no problems,” Sammarone said. “We met with the supervisors and there are no problems. Everything is being done to improve accountability.”

The city spent $23,000 to buy 13 time clocks from Ohio Time Corp., a Northfield company, said Rick Deak, the city’s network administrator.

Police officers have roll calls, which monitors their time as city workers, and there are fire captains keeping track of firefighters reporting to work, Sammarone said. Also, it would be too expensive to have time clocks at every fire station, he said.

For other city employees, they must clock in when starting and ending their work days as well as for lunch and breaks, Sammarone said.

Employees must clock in on or before 8 a.m. and clock out at or after 4 p.m. Tardiness could result in discipline, Sammarone said.

Discipline begins with an oral reprimand for a first offense.

Also, employees who do not clock in or out when required will be subject to discipline, including dismissal for habitual offenders, he said.

Employees who work primarily out of the office, such as meter readers, must leave an itinerary of their workday with their supervisors.

City workers also must wear their city-issued identification badges upon entering city hall for security reasons, Sammarone said.

Meanwhile, the city will be ready by November to have Mahoning County take over its building department, saving Youngstown about $250,000 annually, the mayor said.

Plans are being finalized with the county, and Sammarone expects to have city council approve the merger at its next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 19.

It’s the ideal time for the county to take over the city’s building department with the retirement of the city’s assistant chief enforcement officer, who is responsible for building inspections, and a secretary leaving that department for a job with the city’s community development agency, Sammarone said.

That leaves Brenda Williams, the city’s chief building official, as the only employee in the building department. She can be reassigned to a job in the city’s engineering department, which has a couple of vacancies, or perhaps the county would be interested in hiring her, Sammarone added.

The city signed a contract in March to have the county inspect buildings in Youngstown that Sammarone said was the start of consolidation between the two governmental entities.

The mayor said he wants to use the money saved by the consolidation for housing demolition.

He also told The Vindicator on Monday that he’s “looking at possibly selling mineral rights” to raise more money for demolition.

The city is spending $1 million of its own money and $1 million from a state program to take down vacant, dilapidated houses. That should pay for the demolition of about 270 houses, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.

There are at least 4,000 residential houses that need to be demolished, however, Sammarone said.

The city council of Campbell voted last month to lease 167 acres to Hilcorp Energy Co. of Houston for $836,000 with the city also getting 20 percent of the royalties once the drilling starts.

Hilcorp also is in talks with Struthers for drilling rights on 100 to 150 acres there.

Hilcorp wants mineral-rights leases to extract natural gas through fracking, a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil.

“I’m going to look into it,” Sammarone said of mineral-rights leases. “One of the biggest complaints is demolition. I’d like to find another $1 million to $2 million for demolition. We’ve got to put more into the neighborhoods because we’re losing too many people. We need to reverse that.”


Comments

1lee(544 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I just found time clocks for $300 each. Why did they pay so much?

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2UticaShale(850 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Hey Mr. Mayor! Finally, you are using your head here. It takes roughly 10 City lots to equal an acre, on average there is one demo house per two acres in the City. Hilcorp WAS paying $5000 per acre not including the 20% in royalties when a well is placed on every 600 acre units. You moved too slow and Hilcorp left, they most likely will return once you get educated. These monies CAN pay for demo and generate property taxes again, keep reading and studying.
The first thing you must do is release all your dormant reutilization landbank land to the public which is the purpose of the Landbank and watch MONEY pour in. DO NOT try to lease the LANDBANK land because this will be illegal for the City and the energy company. Lease City owned lands and City landowners will follow you in leasing their lands. Again offer the dormant City landbank lands to your constituents and watch millions pour in the City revitalizing your City, this is BASIC. Once you offer City Landbank land to the public, badly needed investors from all over Ohio will rush into the City investing in your abandoned undeveloped land. Right away these EDUCATED PRODUCERS will reinvest in the land reviving free enterprise in your defunct City. With this approach the citizenry will see that you are a true leader and keep you as Mayor...everyone wins.

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3BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Not sure I understand this....don't almost all departments allready have time clocks....so they paid 25 k for time clocks?....that most departments allready have?.....wonder who sold them to the city....must be putting it in city hall....water and street and waste water do it now?

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4ChrisTravers(4 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

A couple observations on the time clocks. These are biometric devices, meaning they "read" your hand prints/finger prints. This prevents other people from clocking in or out for you. This is not an old-fashioned time-stamp system with time cards or something that merely requires you to punch in a code.

Also, the $23,000 investment likely included installation which required a lot more than putting it on the wall. These clocks probably had to be connected and mapped to a central computer or server in the finance department. And finally, I'm going to guess that the price also included technical support and maintenance from the manufacturer.

When you break it down, $1,770 per device was good considering the technology and the skills needed to install and maintain it. I particularly like the system because it's a bit hard to steal someone's hand and finger prints. This will produce the accountability the mayor is striving for.

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5gdog4766(1383 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

You are just making me use these time clocks because I'm black. I am going to hire a lawyer and call Sharpton and Jackson. I bet if I was white you wouldn't make me clock in and out. Wait It will happen.

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6DwightK(1223 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

$2 million to knock down 270 houses doesn't sound right unless we're spending $7500 per house.

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7candystriper(575 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

...the Mayor may want to contact Virginia-based Ekahau, a global maker of WiFi-enable "Real Time Location Systems."

the tags receive as well as transmit information about the location of the employee...a feature on
the tags causes them to signal if they are dormant for a certain length of time, in case a police officer or fire fighter is unconscious...

A WSJ editorial last week stated President Obama and the EPA plan to end "fracking" in his next term.

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8UNCOMMONSENSE(350 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The mayor should lead by example and be the first to start using a time clock. Hmmm...how will he explain his unaccounted for daily afternoon absence from the mayor's office???

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9whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Hit em hard Sammarone, do more (random) drug testing while your at it.

Start with parks department and work your way up.

I know way to many addicts that work for the city.

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10Ianacek(882 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The high income tax has chased those with income from the city to no or lower tax municipalities, leaving behind those without income to maintain buildings . Blight & street crime is the result .

Reduce the income tax & income earners will return & land values increase . The number of blighted properties will reduce & a lot more demolitions will be done by landowners instead of the City .

Funding for the tax reductions can come from several sources , but gas royalties would be significant .

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11southsidedave(4777 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Great idea using biometrics...eliminates cheating and the time paid will be precise.

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12Southside_Res(165 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Facial recognition software might have been easier, better, less expensive, and more sanitary. The machines pictured in this article have a knack for breaking down a lot. But, "accountability" in "Youngstown city government?" Isn't that an anachronism?

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13Southside_Res(165 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The mayor says, “One of the biggest complaints is demolition. I’d like to find another $1 million to $2 million for demolition. We’ve got to put more into the neighborhoods because we’re losing too many people. We need to reverse that.”

I have a solution. Why not a moratorium on city projects for two years, divert city income tax revenue, and property tax revenue to these demolitions? By my calculation, the average Youngstown contributes $1,800 per annum to the city's coffers. Subtract $800 for the next fiscal year's payroll, to keep our city employees on the dole. That means seven taxpayers can demolish one dilapidated structure. Instead of the list of structures needing to be demolished increasing, nearly all of these dilapidated structures would be gone in less than two years. Why isn't city hall thinking of some kind of radical strategy like that? Stop diverting our tax dollars to pet projects downtown. Start using our funds for what they were intended. Use them right here in our own neighborhoods!

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14DavidSkolnick(49 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Dwight,

That $7,500 per demolished house is correct, according to city officials.

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15HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I have to say Sammarone has been a pleasant surprise. Another great move to make government more accountable.

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16DwightK(1223 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

David,

Thanks. I thought $3,500 per house was the figure mentioned when the grant was first announced.

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17zz3(919 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Good job Mayor and expect alot of flack from the slackers!!! But don't give in your on the right track, make them accountable and you'll find alot of FAT to relocate, make them do their job, promote the people that really do work, and the ones that don't get rid of them. Now they'll be just like the rest of us when we go to work were expected to actually work. We need another term for sure!!!! Again, Great job

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18TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Chris Travers, that was a good post.

gdog, you are trying to trick us right? Everybody knows most black people don't work anyway, why would they be clocking in?

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