County eyes keeping track of employee scheduling & hours worked with biometric system

LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners have put off a decision on replacing the employee time clock currently used at the Belknap County Nursing Home with new biometric clocks that would allow virtually all county workers to check in and out of work by displaying their thumb.
''Time clock technology is a thing of the past,'' County Finance Director Glenn Waring told commissioners when they met Wednesday morning.
Waring proposed that the county switch to Care Systems for software and services which would see six biometric clocks installed at county facilities and suggested that the county could use a $50,000 capital expenditures line in the 2013 budget to pay for most of the projected $69,400 cost for the new system.
Waring said that the current mechanical time and attendance system is used only within the nursing home, while record keeping in other department's is basically pen and paper. He said that the current Kronos system creates an average of 20-25 percent errors weekly that require manual correction and that the system is difficult to navigate and programming changes are very costly as they are billed at a high hourly rate.
Care Systems has been used by Strafford County (Rochester) for seven years and changed a situation in which it took two days to compile time and attendance records for 400 employees to one in which the work is completed within two hours he said.
Waring said Belknap County's goal is to implement a time and attendance record for all employees which will reduce errors and greatly improve payroll processing efficiency.
He said that the Care Systems software also provides a dynamic scheduling model which takes into account scheduling for positions which require minimum qualifications/licensing in both the Department of Corrections and Nursing Home, which will improve scheduling. It will also allow remote check-ins for workers who may not report directly to county facilities, like Sheriff's Department deputies who may be serving court papers early in the day or who are called out for emergency details.
Commissioner Ed Philpot said that before committing any funds to the purchase he would like to see a list of other capital improvement priorities.
The $50,000 which was budgeted for capital improvements was slated for upgrades to the Sheriff's Department communications system. But a $197,000 Department of Homeland Security grant which the county recently received has eliminated the department's need for those funds.
Philpot also suggested that the county install the system for a trial period but was told that once the change was made there was no going back to the old system.