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Mayor seeks ‘accountability’ with time clocks for workers

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


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



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.”


1lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

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

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2BigJim2234(57 comments)posted 3 years, 11 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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3ChrisTravers(4 comments)posted 3 years, 11 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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4DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

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

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5candystriper(575 comments)posted 3 years, 11 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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6UNCOMMONSENSE(626 comments)posted 3 years, 11 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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7whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 11 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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8southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

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

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9DavidSkolnick(57 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago


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

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10HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

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

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11DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago


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

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12TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 3 years, 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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