Government Dysfunction: Is there a Solution? By Danina DiBattista

120625-LiB-Logo-BlackWhat is the key to a transparent government body? Honesty with it’s citizens, and accountability for it’s actions. After last night’s vociferous meeting, it took some time to process the information that was thrown at the audience at rapid speeds. Speculation that a council member had been secretly following and photographing a borough employee to ensure that he was in fact, working. A proposal to install a $15,000 bioscan (fingerprint) scanning device for employees to clock in and out with. Push-back from council to get rid of the crosswalk safety “bump-outs” for our streetscape design, a design that has been picked apart by council repeatedly, to the point that our borough nearly lost the grant money all together. Nearly half of our council was absent during this meeting, something that really grinds my gears. We have a borough in distress, council members acting as if they’ve been hired as employee managers, and council fighting tooth and nail against an amazing opportunity to have our business district beautified by PROFESSIONALS. The micro-management from council, sticking their hands and ideas into every little thing is exactly what is wrong with government as a whole. Let the employee managers, manage. If there is an employee that is not up to par, give them a warning. If they don’t clean up their act, fire them. Let the architects and the streetscape designers, design the street.

Paying $15K for a fingerprint scanner? I thought this was a joke at first. After hearing about it during the meeting, many of us started searching on our phones for better options. And they include the following:

The most EXPENSIVE digital time card device at Sams Club is $475

Another member of LiB found a bioscan reader online, one that linked to all major payroll companies, and came with three units (so that there can be a unit at the pool, at the borough building, at the firehall, etc…). This bioscan trio was $1,000.

How about looking into a keycard scanner at the entrance?

And of course, the best idea of them all? Make your manager accountable for keeping track of what employees are up to. If they’re not doing their job, fire them. That’s what every other business does. It’s really easy to be a talking head, sitting in a seat, within the confines of borough hall, just spending other peoples money left and right. With rising payroll costs, and rising costs on everything else, do we really need a $15,000 time card program for our one square mile borough?

Council, you’ve been elected (unfortunately) to do things such as write ordinances, which you’re so VERY good at. Approve spending on things such as an unnecessary bioscan time clocks. (it’s not your job to manage employees!). Regulate EVERYTHING, which you do with flying colors time and time again. Approve/dissect every little detail in a streetscape program that we are lucky to even have the chance to be a part of, making the ACTUAL professionals want to simply pull out of the job and offer it to another town. All of these things that you’re doing for the “betterment of the borough” are not helping the borough one bit. Sure, you finally approved the streetscape plan, but good lord, it took so long and there was so much bickering and bashing of the design, it was unbelievable. So you want a gold star and a cookie for actually doing your job, right?

It’s time for a new, fresh start. Many of the council members claim that they do not watch the LiB videos and they don’t read our blogs…We all know that they do. I hope that they read this and are reminded that they were not elected to do half of the things that they’re doing here. All of them will quickly remind you of how little they’re paid to do this council job, yet they continuously take on the jobs of others, micro-managing everything.

CHANGE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER.

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26 Responses to “Government Dysfunction: Is there a Solution? By Danina DiBattista”

  1. Braunlich’s pawn shop ordinance is idiotic. This woman actually thinks it is her job to write law regardless of how stupid it is. She should just keep her mouth shut and just let people think she may be stupid and unhinged rather than speak up and verify it for everyone to see. Per the Citizen article this week on the pawn shop ordinance some items were mentioned that could be sold. Precious metals, jewelry, electronics and firearms. The ordinance will require businesses that buy this stuff to keep records of transaction. I would bet state law covers most of this anyway. Precious metals. The only shop that buys this stuff that I know of is the coin shop right near the police station and he is likely required by law to get ID and record the transactions. At least that’s my experience selling coins there. Jewelry. Mike Fodi buys some and items we have to sold to him like scrap gold, etc., requires ID and you get a check. Electronics. The only place I know of to get rid of electronics is the thrift store and they do not pay. And firearms. That’s the stupidest idea yet. I know of no one or business in the boro that trades in firearms and I would know as a gun enthusiast. Only one other place I can think of to sell items is Antiques and Uniques on the corner of Lincoln and Balph but not even a desperate drug addict would sell anything to them for what they are willing to pay. Braunlich is teetering on insanity. The rumor mill has it that she wants to propose a murder ordinance for the boro sometime soon.

    • Are you saying our Chief of Police is an idiot? I believe our Chief is a very intelligent per person.

      You need to look at the accomplishments of Jane Braunlich. She has represented Bellevue well. And I do not think she is an idiot either.

      If you had a burglary as I did, you would be happy to have this ordinance.

    • A pawn ordinance is a preventative measure to (1) discourage poorly operated businesses from opening within the Borough and (2) to control and track stolen property. A pawn ordinance is not a new concept within local governments. It is also up for discussion and the possibility of adding exemptions for particular businesses. Burglary and stolen property crimes are high nationwide and a great deal of it revolves around the drug abuser who sells stolen goods to obtain money to purchase narcotics. It is our goal to return property to the victim and also work with neighboring agencies to provide information on pawned items and the persons who sold them. The City of Pittsburgh is a great example of how a controlled pawn system operates, many crimes are solved for not only Pittsburgh PD but municipalities outside of the City from the information the Pittsburgh Pawn Division collects. I would not support any ordinance that would cause issues for residents; this ordinance is to help the police investigate criminal activity.

  2. Anybody feel like making a list of ordinances and who voted for what as well as blatant obstructions to common sense items? It sure would make it easier to make an informed decision during the next council elections.

    • Simon,
      I find it frustrating that there is not a detailed document on the borough website that has up-to-date voting records for our elected officials. I bet you have to file an RTK request in order to get that info, but you may be able to just go to the borough building and see the records, if they keep them.

  3. Danina,

    I just would like to correct some of your comments. As anyone knows I am very frugal and carefully watch how I spend my money. I treat taxpayer money as my own. There are reasons for the bioscan time clock. The reasons involve the employees of this borough and I will not talk about what is said in our executive sessions. Nor will I drag our employees through the mud in a public forum. They deserve better. We have 2 employees looking at various options and systems that will meet our needs. I am confident these 2 employees are making every effort to search for the best system for the best price for the borough.

    Council is not just legislative. I don’t know how that originated. Please read the Home Rule Charter. Council can exericse any power and perform any function not unconstitutional or not permitted under the charter. Our supervisors work under council’s direction. Only council can hire and fire. Don’t take my word for it. Read the Home Rule Charter.

    Also, Council has not delayed the Streetscape design. It took over a year for council to receive the final draft. Council approved the plan soon after the final plan was received. Most of us met a number of times with the architect and committee chair. Our opinions were communicated a number of times. Just a reminder, council makes the final decision concerning the Streetscape plan. We were not in jeopardy of losing the grant. I have been in regular contact with our COG and the county. I pushed to get this plan to council.

    Lastly, no employee was “followed” nor his children filmed. The residents of the borough should thank the councilperson who took time to insure our employees are not stealing time. Residents brought a concern to several councilmembers and the residents’ concerns were observed for accuracy. Our taxpayers deserve a hands-on council and not puppets.

    • President Woshner,
      I appreciate that you’re commenting and engaging with us, I love that the opportunity for a dialogue is being offered here!

      Your “frugality” is your own opinion. You may think that you’re a good steward of the communities tax dollars, but I find that you tend to vote for things sometimes that are not a good way to spend money. You “save” a certain amount by hiring a new solicitor, then agree to spend that particular amount on a fingerprint scanning time clock. You say that the reason for the proposed $15K is because of the “employees of this borough”. Which after Tuesday nights meeting can clearly be translated to: “we don’t trust our employees, and rather than dealing with them on a management level, we’re going to spend $15K.”

      As far as the streetscape design goes, i specifically remember several council members complaining because they didn’t get to see the streescape plan. A rep from streetscape stood up and told you that in order to see it, you need to attend the streetscape meetings. Councils response: streetscape should COME TO US, in a meeting that we’re already in (such as council meetings), and present it to us. He said that this is the way that this goes, the way that they plan it, and the way that every other streetscape town has done it – council goes to them, at their meeting, to view the plan. I was amazed at the back and forth over this process. Why would any council (as a whole, or as individuals) make the process harder than it needs to be. Council should have said “oh, ok, that’s the way, then we’ll be there with bells on!” You want what’s best for the town, yet you’re not willing to play by anyone’s rules but your own.

      I don’t think the issue of whether or not throwing away tax dollars on absent employees is being questioned. I think the fact that any council member would find it acceptable to sit outside of ones home and film them is despicable. That is not “hands on”, that is more like STALKING. How about empowering your employee manager to take care of it? If he’s not able to, refuses to, or simply doesn’t do HIS job, them get rid of him. I have asked several of my peers how they would feel about the situation, most of them cringed. There are proper ways to manage, and improper ways to manage…sorry council…this makes you and the borough looks REALLY BAD that this kind of behavior is not only happening, but being defended by several other council members. See Jane Braunlichs response in the video if you need more info.

      • Danina,

        I don’t expect you to agree with me. I am trying to explain my actions to you and other residents who read this forum. As a councilmember, I believe the residents of Bellevue should know why I vote for certain expenditures. You will never agree with me. That is your right. I don’t agree with you when you condone a Mayor and Councilpersons who grandstand and disrupt meetings. I can’t agree with you when you applaud the Mayor when he disclosures information discussed at an executive session. Possibly, opening the borough to a potential lawsuit. Never have I seen postings about those who disrupt the meetings or do not attend meetings. You only pick apart certain members of council. I have been the main target. I accept that. Luckily, I have many residents who do support me.

        Concerning Streetscape, Council has not delayed the progress of the plan. I have attended many Streetscape meetings and 2 or 3 walk throughs. I attend 4 to 6 meetings a month for borough business. In addition, I spend another 3 or more preparing for the meetings. I am not complaining but for a company who we pay for a service to ” demand” we attend more meetings is unacceptable. How many more than 6 or 7 meetings plus 2 walk throughts does it take to come up with a final Streetscape plan. There is no reason, they cannot update us on a regular basis. We are paying them. They can work with us.

        I recommend you look up the definition of stalking. There is so much you do not know about this situation. This is something that should not be discussed in an open meeting.

        I am curious. Where do you think we should spend taxpayers’ money? What would you do?

  4. Ms. Woshner,

    Thank you for your comments. I speak only for myself and believe you are an honest person and truly appreciate that you address concerns on this forum. You have been direct with me when I have shared my specific concerns regarding Bellevue and I have taken you at your word each time. We differ on some opinions but you have always been a civil leader of the community.

    I believe the challenge isthat members of council aren’t trusted by some of the citizens, nor is the local newspaper coverage (no pun intended). I appreciate the LiB videos because I don’t always have the time to take away from work or family to attend meetings – but the videos are raw and some agenda items lack explanations, so viewers with unanswered questions are left to draw our own explanations.

    However, many of the significant pieces of action by Council do seem to paint a picture of distrust of Bellevue citizens. The cost savings of the solicitor change no longer seem justified when looking at a biometric timeclock for borough employees. The assumption is that Council doesn’t trust employees are punching themselves in at appropriate times. If not the case, the community deserves a clear explanation for an expense as large as one that necessitated a personnel change.

  5. Scott,

    If there are unanswered questions, feel free to contact me. When it comes to the borough employees, I will not publically disclose those matters that are considered private. We all do stupid things and the borough employees deserve privacy unless I am obligated to disclose due to state and federal laws.

    You have to trust I believe there is a need for the time clocks. I am not into wasting money. Many communities, as well as, many companies in the private sector have time clocks. Time clocks are a good way to manage work schedules, as well as, sick and vacation time. One recent reason, but not the only one, which was publically disclosed was the $6000 paid for unused sick time. I believe the unused sick time for a former employee was not properly documented, and consequently, we had to pay.There were conflicting documents. There should have been better documentation. This system will insure we are compensating the employees correctly and fairly. All employees will be treated the same. This is a $15000 investment which I believe will pay for itself in the coming years. Hopefully, we will be able to find a system for less money.

    Concerning our past solicitor, I believe we needed a change and the cost savings was an additional incentive. I will not criticize the past solicitor. It is not necessary.

    • Wait…Somebody did something stupid…so stupid that the proposed fix will cost the taxpayers 15k?

    • I don’t see how a $6,000 oversight must be fixed by a solution three times the cost of the error. I still believe this is a trust issue – elected officials don’t trust employees. If my assumption is true, that’s a shame.

      The $6,000 in unpaid sick time was something that should never have been in the contract if you don’t like it. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I don’t believe that a punch clock fixes those issues.

  6. I’m sure that, if there will be a time clock installed, that there are better alternatives to the one that requires FINGERPRINT verification, and ones that are more cost-effective as well. To me, it looks like the whole “free tree vs. we’re going to pay for trees” thing all over again…

  7. The line item has a limit of $15k. In other words, they will try to find something “cheaper”, let’s say for $10k, and make you think it’s a good deal. Isn’t that how all government spending works? It’s like a mind game, only they get to play with other peoples money.

    • I’ve worked for a corporation for several years and the only way we’ve ever clocked in for work is with our own personal identification number that they provided us. It’s the same number we used for employee discounts and to do other important things like fix incorrect punches and verify who we were. I see absolutely no ground for fingerprint identification in such a tiny borough when a large corporation doesn’t require it.

    • At 15k perhaps this device serves as a time clock and a remote control street sweeper!

  8. Thanks Danina..excellent points and very well stated

  9. President Woshner,
    Not sure why the site won’t let me do a “reply” to you from your response above, hopefully you’ll still get the update that I’m commenting back to you.

    Thank you for your response, I also think it’s important for the community to be able to hear what council people have to say and engage with them outside of borough chambers. Unfortunately, a few council people simply refuse to participate in 21st century forms of communication, and in my opinion, those very same people are the ones that should be explaining their actions and voting records.

    I do not condone any outbursts and/or disruptions. And at some point over the last week, i have stated that i thought that all of the participants in last weeks meeting looked pretty foolish with all of the yelling and banter. I think what the mayor did walked a very fine line with exposing what was going on vs. exposing the conversations during executive session. You began to interrupt him, and he responded by saying that his statement was NOT about the executive session, but about the behavior and actions of certain council members. I have emailed Sue V in an attempt to contact Jim V for a statement about the situation. Unfortunately, Mr. Viscusi doesn’t provide an email contact on the website (something that should be 150% REQUIRED for an elected official). I have not heard back from him.

    I don’t think there’s any legitimate way to defend the actions that he’s been accused of, if he did, in fact film/photograph this person(s). You may not consider it stalking, but during Mrs. Braunlich’s response, she states that this person was known to be “home for three months”. So tell me, was someone watching this person for three months?
    I’m not saying that a lazy and or insubordinate employee should keep their job in any way, but I am saying that a manager or superior should have been empowered to take care of the problem. I agree with Scott and the many others that think that the bioscan time clock is a very expensive way to rectify trust issues with the borough employees, rather than manage them properly and hire people that are excellent employees. I work at a company with 1,300 stores worldwide, we don’t have to scan our fingertip to log into work. We have an employee number that we clock in with. For the economy to be so shaky, and for the Bellevue borough to be losing employees left and right because they’re quitting…i think there’s certainly something wrong here. An uncomfortable work environment, i imagine.

    The problem with the streescape issue, in my opinion, is this…
    You work for the residents, if the typical process of getting the streescape done is not your favorite, then oh well. I feel that the council should have bent over backwards and gone to 50 meetings, if that’s what it takes to get it done. Our business district is falling apart, the only stores that are able to make it are salons, pizza shops, diners, dollar stores and check cashing.

    As far as spending goes, I think that just because you HAVE taxpayer dollars, does not mean that you need to find a way to spend it. The reason that government is hard to swallow for some people (including myself) is that government literally produces NOTHING, yet they can collect and spend as they see fit. When is the last time you paid for NOTHING? Government does not really provide a good or service that the people could not do on their own. Government contributes nothing to the economy, in fact it takes away from it. And yet, the government in our town is sitting in a room, making decisions about the economy of this town. Spending money on things like purchasing trees from a landscaper vs. getting free trees from an organization that provides an arborist. Proposing an expense of $15k over a trust issue. All of these things are not a way to be a good steward of the tax dollar.

    I think spending tax payer dollars on things like the streescape is a great idea. However, if you don’t pair that streescape design with a great overall business district plan, then i feel that it will be a beautiful streescape with little to no retail or restaurants to get people out to enjoy it. Other boroughs and towns take their focus to the business district, and find ways to get the ball rolling on cleaning it up and recruiting new businesses. This cannot be done by the government, but the government can invest in a company that specializes and has the passion to drive the business district in a good direction. You may think I’m crazy to talk about the business district so much, but if we can get that turned around, i think it would be a great beginning to turning the town in a better direction. Bellevue needs to be reinvented, it needs to become a destination town, which will eventually bring in new people that will hopefully live, shop, worship, eat and drink here. If Wilkinsburg can start to reform their town, we sure as hell can take ours in a better direction. If Lawrenceville can turn their town around, so can we. There’s no reason that Bellevue cannot be the boutique town of North Pittsburgh. I think that the way of spending tax dollars has evolved, marketing a town properly is a good way to spend tax dollars, why do you think the other areas of pgh are so desirable? They’re marketed properly. I personally do not think that our current council could ever imagine giving up the power to an outside marketing agency, or outside business district/ event planning company. As much as you all love to control everything, unfortunately, you’re not so good at it. I think it’s time to give it up the power, and hand it over to someone or a company that knows what they’re doing.

  10. What’s interesting about the comments from Lib members and followers is that virtually none of you have any hands on experience with government, yet you purport to be experts. And it’s VERY clear that your idea of relating government to a business that should (produce) something is a reaffirmation of that fact.
    Government is there, especially local government to provide some basic services, not to be in the business of promoting private enterprise. Yes, besides providing the basics, police protection, clearing and repairing the streets, they can provide tax incentives. And if you do a little research you will find that places like Lawrenceville were brought back by citizens’ groups. Government had very little to nothing to do with its revitalization.
    Danina you keep looking at Bellevue’s problems from a business persons prospective, when in fact what ails Bellevue has very little to do with the business community. Some business will make it work, others will fail, but their failure has nothing to do with the local government, but has everything to do with who owned or ran the failed business.
    On the issue of the lazy employee, or should I say employee’s. Take one lazy cheating employee that makes say, $50,000 per year. If that employee is cheating and leaving work early on a daily basis, do the math. Over a couple years’ time that can amount to a substantial amount of money. Now multiply that by several employees and you have large sums of tax dollars being stolen.
    I’ve mentioned to you in other posts that Ross Township, and many other communities have been using time clocks for many years. It’s about time Bellevue does the same thing. And by the way, if I give you $15,000 and you return me double, triple? I’d say that’s a good deal. Wouldn’t you? Or even better very responsible public officials looking out for your best interests.

  11. OH MY GOD. You seriously don’t listen to anything that we say, Mr. Purcell. Or at least you seem to take my words and twist them…that’s what you’re really good at (congrats!).

    I have never said that the business district’s downfall is entirely to blame on the leadership, but i have certainly said that the leadership has not helped either. Besides the obvious lack of support for the businesses wants and needs, and the fact that they have never looked to other areas to see what is making their business districts tick is already a red flag that they don’t care much about it. I have made numerous suggestions, but they fall on deaf ears.

    The funny thing about your last comment is that you say that the revitalization of some areas of pgh is due to citizen’s groups or other organizations. Do you think that the local gov’t of these areas fought tooth and nail to shoot down every idea that was brought to them from these groups? I highly doubt it. A smart government and smart leadership knows when someone is suggesting something good, and supports it, maybe even helps to solidify it. Not in Bellevue!!! These people want to micro-manage everything, they cannot possibly trust or hand over the reigns for marketing and campaigning for the business district to another organization, nor do they rally with the business owners to help them attain what they need to succeed. So, in that respect Mr. Purcell…you just basically helped me to make a very good point. Thank you very much.

    No one is against ensuring that employees are doing their job. No one has said that they’re against the employees logging into work somehow (other than paper & pen). But if the company that i work for doesn’t scan our fingertips and it has 1,300 stores, then i don’t see a need for Bellevue to do so. Buy a time clock from Sams Club, hell…buy 5 time clocks from Sams Club so that they can have them at every building. The $6k was an oversight by leadership, not to be then rectified by spending $15k of tax payer dollars to fix. Save $16k on a new solicitor, spend $15k on unnecessary time clock technology? Doesn’t really sound like we’re saving much of anything to me.

  12. OMG..You don’t listen to anything i say…You sound like my wife…just kidding..I actually do listen to all of you. anyway, you know i do not attend the meetings so if you have been making suggestions to council you should do videos of them. might be interesting to watch. Or are there some and i missed them?

  13. We’ve all made suggestions to council, many of us tried to offer them help with an eblast and ideas for marketing the new parking hours along Lincoln Ave, marketing the business district, attracting outside foot traffic to town. Bellevue leadership HAS to think outside of the box if they want the borough to stand out among all of the other towns that are attracting businesses, new home owners and artists. What the leadership has been doing for so long now is clearly not working, so to think that we can continue to do the same things and have a different outcome is simply nuts. Times have changed, many of the marketing strategies and ways of communicating with current residents and (hopefully) future residents has evolved over the last 20 years. Many of our current council members look at us as if we’re speaking a foreign language when we try to explain to them the practices that could begin to turn things around. You say that we don’t know anything about politics, but at the same time we have an entire world of knowledge that most of the current council members can’t even comprehend. I’m not bashing them, I try to explain this stuff to my mother and father all the time…it has just not been engraved into their everyday lives like it has been in the generation of the late 70’s & 80’s, and beyond.

  14. I offered to sit down with them and show them how to use an eblast program, offered to help them with collecting email addresses, offered suggestions on how to collect them other than just through the website or facebook. The list of things that we’ve all suggested is pretty long. But why keep trying to help them if they don’t seem to care? They may think that we’re looking for some sort of kick-back, but in reality, our suggestions and offers to help them on our own time, for free all go back to the core reason that LiB was started in the first place: We want to see our town flourish, have the ability to compete with other successful boutique towns, and to see prosperity and success in the business district. I personally don’t really care who get the job done, but it needs to happen. Do you think we would be doing what we’re doing if the current leadership was doing a fantastic job? No way. This LiB group takes up a legitimate part of my free time, time that i could be spending with my family, friends, etc… I do this because i would love to STAY in Bellevue, maybe raise a family here in the future, buy a beautiful Victorian home here. But if the town keeps going in the same direction that it’s on right now, I will leave, and so will a lot of other good people in this borough. Our neighbors talk of leaving because of the school district, my peers talk of leaving because they’d rather live somewhere that they can walk to the business district and grab a drink with dinner, maybe catch a game at a bar, or shop in some nice shops, etc… Other towns are light years ahead of us with this. We need to turn things around before Bellevue is nothing but people that are “passing through” for a year or two before buying their permanent home in Squirrel Hill, Regent Square, or Lawrenceville, etc…

    I think that a lot of our suggestions are made during public comment, and/or were made before we were able to afford to get a camera. Council always reacts positively to our suggestions, and thanks us. It’s not that they don’t SEEM to consider them. It’s that they never actually do anything that we suggest. Instead of updating the website to look like it belongs in the 21st century, we have a website that looks like the first website ever created, ever. It doesn’t work well on tablets, doesn’t work too well on mobiles, and it’s just not a good looking website. In this day, a website is a representation of a company, borough, organization, etc… I give credit and kudos to whoever designed that site, but it’s not good, and it’s not updated nearly enough. We had two LiB members offer to design a new website for the borough, they never took us up on the offer. Our group consists of some highly talented people that have offered their work and help for little money or even for FREE, but it has been shrugged off and overlooked by council.

    And these reasons are just the beginning of why i think our council needs to be refreshed, new people, new ideas, current thinking and ways of doing things. The list goes on and on, but I will be here all day if i have to give every reason.

  15. Mr. Purcell, does your wife know how you act online? Does she know what you say? In 20 years, what will your grandsons think of how their grandfather conducted himself online? The results of a Google search with your name should be embarrassing enough if I were one of your sons – I can only imagine what your grand kids will think.

  16. The $15K expense of a time clock system will reduce employee morale and I haven’t heard enough reasons of why spending this amount is absolutely a necessity.

    It is my understanding that this is being implemented because one employee may or may not have taken the sick days he was paid for when he left his job? Huh?

    Ever hear of a “vacation request form?” It’s a simple Word document (free!) and you fill it out, get it approved and signed by your manager, and it’s filed away (or an Excel or Access spreadsheet that tracks and blocks off time used). OR… as Nina suggested, a swipe card. Also, most payroll systems track sick and vacation days; they’re listed on your paycheck as paid time off, but are not marked as regular work hours… OR… Why not change to a “use it or lose it” system? Very few companies pay employees for unused time off. Making that small change would absolutely save money that’s being paid out, and the time clock system would not be needed. And if some people log into the system remotely, how do you know where they really are? This is all accountability, and if people running their departments can’t keep track of their employees, then address it directly with that person(s).

    When I was in my early 20s, I had a job where they installed time clocks. You entered a code from your telephone at your desk when you arrived to work. Imagine how disgusted I was as a salaried employee who frequently worked 12-14 hour days and had to sign a paper acknowledging I was 3 minutes tardy on a morning after I had worked from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. the previous day. It was ridiculous. (I was frequently a few minutes tardy; the rule was three tardies in a quarter and you were fired. They did not fire me.) I also quickly figured out if I was late and “forgot” to log in, then the day’s timeclock results were tossed out. Sometimes when I worked ridiculously long hours, my boss would suggest I take a bonus day off and this wasn’t entered into any system. I’d say the timeclock system did nothing to stop me from being late, didn’t really track my days off, and no one really cared. I was a reliable and hard-working employee. I did not need a babysitter.

    At another job, we had an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) room. Because of the sensitivity of the files kept in that room, a very pricey fingerprint/handprint entry lock was installed on the door and only a select few were permitted to enter that room. Very frequently, the machine did not recognize us and we had to find other people to try to “lend a hand” so we could enter the room. What a waste of money!!! And it didn’t accurately track who was in that room.

    This also reminds me of another thing that happened at the above-mentioned company: We paid money to be allowed to wear jeans on Fridays. One woman wore very sloppy and revealing clothing for a couple of Fridays in a row. People whispered about it. Instead of her boss asking her to dress more appropriately, the company discontinued the program (and kept our money). Taking drastic actions as a result of one person’s mistake is never a good idea. This may seem silly to you, but I can’t tell you how many hours we worked, and being comfy in natural soft fabrics and wearing normal casual shoes one day a week really helped me feel better and work harder. It was a big deal to us, and it sucks that we lost that privilege because no one spoke up.

    I’ve seen the low pay of borough employees and the practically nonexistent pay increases. Why couldn’t this money be used to compensate those who do outstanding work? Why is it being wasted on things that aren’t really needed, things that will make everyone feel even less valued as an employee? Honestly, if I made the salaries that some of the borough employees did, I wouldn’t exactly trip over myself to do an outstanding job. Yet the vast majority of the borough’s employees are really good at what they do and don’t abuse the system. So why insult them with this time clock system? If someone isn’t showing up for their job, fix that problem directly with that employee.

    Why are people always comparing Bellevue to Ross? Look at the income levels of residents, pay of the employees, budgets, prices of homes and taxes, and you’ll understand that you can’t compare one thing while ignoring the other things.

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