By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Not only has the State Department of Finance spent $47 million on this “failure-to-pay” software at the insistence of Director Bill Newton and his assistant Rex McDowell, but over the last two fiscal years, the State has spend nearly $8 million for an employee time log-in system, which just a few years ago was called a time clock.
In Fiscal Year 2015, alone, the State spent a total of $4,074,027.51 on this system.
Data Processing Equipment: $523,101.90
Data Processing-Professional: $1,808,616.61
Items Purchased for Resale: $254,240.00
Software & Intang in Progress: $1,488.069.00
Newton and McDowell selected the Kronos “Time & Attendance” system, which according to the company, completely automates time and attendance records reducing “labor costs by enforcing pay and work rules — consistently and accurately — across the organization.”
Not only is there a bio scan InTouch fingerprint scanner “time clock,” the system has a sophisticated data collection component.
However, according to several high-level State employees familiar with the project, it’s just another off-the-shelf product that works well for a few agencies, but is more trouble than it’s worth to others. One long, serving State worker said, “It may have saved Department of Corrections (DOC) and ALDOT some money, but most State employees do not get paid overtime, so the other agencies that were ‘forced’ to implement it have wasted money.”
According to personnel, agency implementation was a disaster. “They mandated use of an employee time system from Kronos, without completely testing it, and without the resources necessary for it to run efficiently,” states the specialist. He said said teven now, the system is not functioning properly. “Employees waste time everyday, waiting for the system to respond, if they can even clock in at all. Then supervisors waste hours ‘fixing’ the errors.”
Sources who have studied the system’s effectiveness for statewide use also concluded, it has only saved money for a few agencies, while substantially raising the cost for others. The system is designed for agencies like those that operate three shifts, such as the DOC and ALDOT. But to keep track of a State Trooper’s time, the State would be required to purchase a mobile app for each employee who works away from the main office. This license costing around $45.00 a month per employee.
In the Second Special Session of 2015, the State Legislature and Governor Bentley imposed millions in new taxes on the working families of the State. Meanwhile, millions are being spent at the direction of Newton and McDowell. Millions, the endusers say, is wasted money.