Time clock discussion touches a few nerves
LISBON — Something as seemingly routine as implementing a time clock policy for village employees was anything but at this week’s council meeting,
The issue first came up at the previous council meeting, when mayor Peter Wilson pointed out they never adopted a policy after a time card machine was installed in village hall three years ago. A policy was drafted but never approved.
The issue came up for further discussion at this week’s meeting, when Wilson raised the issue of whether salaried supervisors should also be required to clock in and out. Wilson asked village solicitor Alec Beech for his opinion, and he said there was nothing preventing council from including salaried supervisors.
Council president Dawn Thomas and council member Jerry Cox questioned the wisdom of requiring supervisors to use the time clock. “They’re on call 24/7,” Cox said.
Thomas wondered whether supervisors would be entitled to overtime if required to clock in and out. Beech said they would not.
Board of Public Affairs chairman Bill Hoover said utilities director Chris Peterson is salaried and he puts in a significant amount of overtime and is never monetarily compensated, although sometimes he may get some compensatory time off.
Hoover wondered if making Peterson clock in and out would put the BPA in the position of officially having to compensate him in some way for all of the time he actually works.
Thomas questioned the need for salaried employees to use the time clock, saying that runs counter to the whole point of having confidence in your supervisors.
The only supervisors who would fall into this category besides Peterson are police chief Mike Abraham, mayor’s secretary/income tax administrator Barbara Crane and street foreman Jim Oliver, who receives compensatory time off.
“Personally, I think all employees should clock in,” Wilson said, noting when he held a management position in the private sector he found the biggest offenders among those not required to clock in were salaried employees.
After further discussion, Wilson said he had been asking fiscal officer Tracey Wonner for the time sheets of one particular supervisor.
“Have you every addressed this person?” Abraham asked.
“Who is this person?” Cox chimed in.
“Jerry, not now,” interjected council member Susan Temple.
Cox persisted. “I have a right to know. I want to know who this person is,” he said.
“I will tell you in executive session,” Wilson said.
“I don’t want to know in executive session. I want to know in a public meeting,” Cox replied. “I don’t have to wait.”
“Yes, you have to wait. You don’t make the rules,” Wilson said, adding personnel matters are best discussed in executive session, which is allowed by law.
“You’re hiding something,” Cox told him.
“No, I’m not hiding anything, Jerry,” the mayor said.
Thomas suggested the matter be tabled for now while council reviews the proposed policy further.
Council did go into executive session to discuss employee compensation, and they were joined by two cemetery board members, who reportedly later left the meeting.
Chief Abraham said he has some concerns with the proposed policy and how it would impact his operations and was told to speak with council member Ryan Berg.
He said after the meeting no one has spoken with about the proposed policy, and requiring his officers to clock in and out will likely have a major impact on his operations, financial and otherwise.