Kronos problems surface

Published 11:42 pm Friday, May 6, 2011

Two constitutional officers recently asked for more money in their budget requests to accommodate the use of cards for a city time clock system, rather than using a fingerprint scanner.

Sheriff Raleigh Isaacs and Clerk of Court Randy Carter are concerned about the possibility of the fingerprint scanners to harbor germs and retain fingerprint images, therefore producing the opportunity for identity theft, they said in letters to City Manager Selena Cuffee-Glenn.

The Kronos system uses a fingerprint scan to ensure that employees are not able to defraud the city by clocking each other in and out. The system, which was implemented within the past year, automates most functions of timekeeping, attendance tracking and payroll, therefore saving time for human resources employees and helping eliminate costly mistakes.

Email newsletter signup

But Isaacs and Carter don’t seem thrilled with the new system.

“My employees handle thousands of inmates each year,” Isaacs wrote. “Many of these individuals are carriers of such diseases as hepatitis, [MRSA], HIV, TB and others. Although I strongly encourage the strictest sanitary conditions, a common area to exchange fingerprints in my opinion is a procedure I do not support.”

Carter wrote that he had a meeting with human resources personnel last year and was assured his employees would be provided cards at no cost to avoid “any potential identity threat and a needless invasion of their privacy.”

“Such an arrangement was acceptable to me despite my overall reservations about the cost and necessity of the system itself,” Carter said.

He said he was recently informed that his office would have to pay $200 per employee for the cards — an unreasonable amount, he said, since similar cards used in the courthouse cost the sheriff $6 each.

“For the life of me I cannot understand the huge disparity in the costs,” he said.

Carter and Isaacs both requested amendment to their budget requests to get the additional money.

In letters, Cuffee-Glenn turned both of them down. She wrote that staff had found “an alternate solution” for Carter’s office that did not involve any additional costs, though didn’t say what that solution was.

Responding to Isaacs’ concerns, Cuffee-Glenn wrote that the system does not store actual fingerprint images and is not known to harbor any viruses or other diseases. She noted that numerous hospitals and correctional facilities throughout the country use the same system.

“Your request for additional funding in your budget will not be needed as there is no rationale for your employees not to use this citywide system as intended,” she wrote.