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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, February 23, 2017

DA Blasts Timeclocks Planned at NorCo Courthouse

A timeclock is coming soon
Time clocks might be a good idea at NorCo jail or at Gracedale. But John Brown wants to use them countywide, including at the courthouse and at the Human Services building. HR Director Amy Trapp has argued that they will reduce paperwork, save time and even be beneficial for employees in the long run. But employees resent them. They find the practice degrading, and feel that being compelled to supply their fingerprint for a biometric device is in an infringement of their privacy.  Now an administration that has unilaterally reduces the medical benefits of employees doesn't really care what they think. But it should care what DA John Morganelli thinks, especially since he's sued the Executive and won over the issue of who runs his office.

On Friday morning, when Morganelli was returning to his office from court, he noticed some of the County's maintenance team banging away part of the wall outside and stringing in blue wires.

"What's that for?"

"Timeclocks. They're going everywhere."

And they are.Blue wires are dangling from walls all over the place.

No one had bothered discussing this with the DA, so he fired off an email on Friday morning at 10:49 am, addressed to Amy Trapp and John Brown.

Amy and John

As we speak there are workmen outside my office putting up a time clock. I made it absolutely clear that my employees will not be subject to ANY timeclock as long as I am DA. The Home Rule Charter specifically gives ME as DA EXCLUSIVE control over my employees. This is a waste of money and I am not going to decrease morale and efficiency in my office with this.

I think you should stop work here immediately. I will not have my people do this. Period. JM

Morganelli heard nothing Friday, Monday or Tuesday.

You see, they don't have to worry about time clocks.They're management.

Finally on Tuesday night, at 10:46 pm, Morganelli got this response from Trapp.

Good evening John,

I apologize for the delay. I was off for my daughter’s birthday and I am trying to catch up on my messages.

I also would like to apologize for the lack of communication. I was not aware there was a mass installation of time clocks, but I am very excited to hear that they are all going in. I would very much like to sit and talk to you about this.

Your ADAs and Detectives would never need to punch. However, anyone else subject to overtime under FLSA regulations should be as it will create a great number of efficiencies. Much like the [redacted] of the world we have discussed before, this holds everyone equally accountable and provides the most accurate information. I know how important that is to you as the District Attorney. No one can argue with facts.

Please let me know when you have time to discuss this week or next week and I would be happy to meet. I look forward to talking with you.

Does she get three days off for her daughter's birthday?

Oh that's right, she doesn't have to worry about a timeclock. She's management. And she wants him to know that he and his assistants and detectives are special, too, and would never need to punch. Only the lowly clerks, who are already shackled with low wages. Let them get stressed about being to work on time.

Morganelli had a meeting with police in Bethlehem on Wednesday morning, so he was unable to get to the courthouse until 10 am. As he parked his car, Administrator Cathy Allen was just pulling in herself.

She punches no timeclock, either. She's management.

This high school grad told Morganelli that federal regulations now require timeclocks. Morganelli checked. They don't. In fact, the Code of Federal Regulations specifically states, "Time clocks are not required."

Morganelli fired off this email to Trapp.

Amy

There is no need to discuss this. I am not doing it. Period. Unless the Supreme Court of Pa or the US Supreme orders me to do it, it will not happen. I am in charge of of my employees, not you or the County Administration. As far as I know, there is no legal requirement under FLSA or anywhere else that requires us to use time clocks at this time. I have no problem with my employees. When I did, it was addressed. I am not fixing something here that is not broken. We are the most efficient office in the county-- we do a big job with little staff. Morale is good here. People wanting to get into our office all the time. I am not suffocating morale. I am not meeting to discuss something I am not considering at all. JM

Morganelli refuses to practice the classism that seems to be in vogue among those who parade around on hoverboards and call themselves management.

He later told me that timeclocks would only breed resentment among his staff and create and "Us v. Them" mentality.

The notion is simply unworkable. If assessors are supposed to punch in and out, the county is going to lose productivity from staff who will need more time to hit outlying areas. Deputy sheriffs on hospital or court details will end up charging more overtime. Caseworkers in human services will become less productive because it will take them more time to meet with clients, and these include families with children who are being neglected or abused.

I can guarantee the judges will refuse to have their staff use timeclocks, so we will have uneven use all over the county. This just breeds resentment instead of stopping it.

This is a foolish idea and should be scrapped. It is, as Morganelli stated, a solution to a nonexistent problem.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

i don't have a strong opinion either way, but I don't think it's the end of the world to require hourly workers to punch a clock.

Anonymous said...

Time clocks with biometrics are relatively common for non management staff no only in the private but public sectors. A number of Township's are doing it. It eliminates the needs for time card preparation and review and does keep non management staff evenly keeled.

Anonymous said...

If not ALL County employees need to finger punch in, she better stop it for the ones that are made to currently or there will be another County lawsuit -- discrimination!!!!! Oh, that's right she wouldn't know that being Director of HR with her legal degree and all. Thank you for this article and noticing that Ms. Hover Board takes extra time off and doesn't treat everyone fairly. She needs to go along with her Cabinet!!!

Also, it will take the employee more time to figure out if exactly how much time they need to make up before it throws them into overtime, which by policy needs to be approved before they are allowed to work or they are breaking a policy that they would be disciplined for. Oh that's right they shouldn't be disciplined unless those riding the Hoover board were -- oh, it's ok because she makes the rules and chooses who to enforce them against. Morale sucks at the courthouse.

It is great that Morganelli stands up for his employees. Who is going to stand up for the rest of them????

Anonymous said...

It's dehumanizing petty bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:02 am aka Amy Trapp... that's a well thought out response. Bullshit, but still a well thought out response.

Anonymous said...

Lazy and untrusting. I'd like to see the cards punched by management if they had to. Trapp and Allen's FLSA argument holds no water. As long as they have a record, to show that management is not screwing the hourly employees out of overtime, it will suffice. Both people, [Allen & Trapp], should be sent to training on the FLSA and the contents within. When accomplishing it, they can punch in to certify attendance.

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer, I think it would be a more efficient means of tracking our civil servants productivity. Happens in corporate America all of the time. The witch hunt that the liberals that flood this blog with is the only reason this post was written. Clearly, there are some people who are not able to clock in and out, but what about the majority of county workers whose position does not require them to leave the county offices? What's wrong with asking for accountability?

Anonymous said...

@ 7:42 AM It is going to cost the taxpayer MORE because there is going to be a lot more OT that they were not being charged before. There will have to be an INCREASE in budgets to cover the OT that wasn't being charged before. They are going to lose because productivity is going to be LESS. Taxpayers lose again.

Anonymous said...

Struggle for power continues inside NorCo compound. I'm in charge..no..I'm in charge. Petty BS all around and cost analysis be damned! More chicken crap from Brown and Allen is all this is. I guess JB figures this will win him votes come November. Bad action plan and Morganelli gonna win this one.

Anonymous said...

@7:42 am... nothing wrong with the accountability. However, the you also will be paying more in mileage and time for people not allowed to start their day at a property they are assessing or home visit they are conducting.

Anonymous said...

Morganelli is wrong. The Home Rule Charter does not give him this kind of control over his employees.

Anonymous said...

Such a shame that the novel concept of time clocks for non-exempt people stirs these liberal snowflakes into knots and tears. Wake up call...welcome to the private sector where this occurs daily, and in just about every business where there are many people coming and going. Nothing new.

I see that JM and Judge Barratta were able to get very healthy raises for their people and yet this is the pushback and thank you?

I thought JM would have learned his lesson by now...using his bottom feeding blogger/ errand boy buddy to do his dirty work has cost him dearly in many failed attempts at elected office. A post like this makes JM look bad.

Maybe the county should do what the private sector does and stop hiring people full time, period. Then there is never an issue with overtime. No benes either.

For a person who tries to look like he cares about accountability, and who derails people everyday b/c gov't just isnt accountable enough, I am wondering if the bottom feeding author will be deleting all the thousands of blogs he writes about time theft on the taxpayer dime?

Anonymous said...

Was the matter discussed and monies budgeted or just winging it?

Anonymous said...

This new "system" is nothing more than a Al Jordan $$$ grab. My understanding is he sold the "system" to the county. Isn't this a conflict of interest ? Then again, it's the Brown stain administration, it just doesn't matter, except screwing with many of the honest employees he keeps screwing over! You know, the ones that haven't had a job evaluation completed as the HR code states are to be completed on a yearly basis or raise in years, poor health care and cut in pensions. Another mass exodus is looming.

Anonymous said...

all employees have an magnetic id card. So why the finger print system that is costing the tax payers tens of thousands of $ when a system already can be up and running in a matter of days to track employee time? OOPS, forgot, Mr. Jordan is likely making a few extra $$ by selling them this system. Word also has it they will be conducting background checks on employees once up and running. More BIG BROTHER ! WELCOME TO THE MACHINE !

Anonymous said...

AGAIN JohnBrown= worst executive in county history & worst mayor in bangor history!!

Anonymous said...

8:27 am..."Another mass exodus is looming?

You remind me of these dopes who boycott a store because it has a sign in the window "shirts and shoes required."

Poor health care, no raises, cut in pensions.....seriously? Most jobs today do not have any of those to begin with.

lizzette carta said...

Why isn't our union stepping in and fighting for us on this. If they are going to play favorites that means they are discriminating against office general staff. Moral is going to go down and the I am off the clock attitude will step in when the office needs that last minute favor...The inmates have more rights and freedom then we do...

lizzette carta said...

Where is our union to defend us? Inmates have more freedom then we do. Of course moral will go down and those last minute favors will not happen. If we are off the clock expect no more work past one second.

Anonymous said...

Brown and Allen will run over anyone who gets in their way unless..you fight back! At least the DA has the guts to tell the admin. to go scratch.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the faux outrage. "I can't believe there is gambling going on in this establishment!" "Here are your winnings, Captain Renault."

It's about accountability and streamlining of services. Someone has to input the time from the time cards (probably is a full-time job in and of itself) and the person inputting the time has no earthly idea if someone is ginning their time or not. Christ, in the news over the past three weeks there have been multiple instances of people putting phony time sheets in with municipalities and the one guy from Hellertown was an elected official. Are we saying that it's not possible or probable for a county employee to do the same thing?

The only thing I see occurring is "missed punches" especially with biometric systems. They are not fool-proof.

Anonymous said...

Everyone does it or no one does it.

Lead by example.

Anonymous said...

@8:10 am: You are correct the County HRC does not give John Morganelli the power over his employees, but the PA State Constitution does and that trumps the HRC.

Anonymous said...

@9:40 Respectfully, that makes no sense. Salaried jobs have no time clock. I understand Morganelli's issue with that and hopefully that will resolve itself. Management (should) routinely put in more hours and often put more hours in "off-campus" which makes it impossible to "punch in". You can't have a detective be working 12 hours in Bangor, for instance, and have him drive back to Easton for the express purpose of punching out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Why isn't our union stepping in and fighting for us on this"

I understand this issue has been a topic at some recent union meetings. I have nothing against timeclocks, and think they can work in certain areas, but not at the courthouse or human services. It's a bad idea that will decrease morale and end up costing money. Amy Trapp claimed that one reason why she's good and worth her high salary is that gets out and about. I can say after seeing here here now for sometime that this assertion is false. She is remote, and has no idea what workers are thinking. The most stupid thing she could have done is have the wiring for these clocks outside the DA and court administrator offices without bothering to talk to them. That is just common sense. Where is hers? She is also angry that I have the emails.Too bad. As I told the DA, this is no "internal predecisional deliberation." It is a fait accompli. I am entitled to those emails and would get them anyway.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"what about the majority of county workers whose position does not require them to leave the county offices? "
I would say a majority of the county workers at the courthouse and human services must leave and go to different areas. So thousands of taxpayer dollars are being squandered on timeclocks that,in the end, will only apply to a handful of employees who are already suffering enough with pitiful wages. It will end up costing more money than the system currently in place and squanders good will that the Exec is in no position to squander. And like everything else the Brown admin does, there is no attempt to build a consensus. The last thing you do is insult the DA or the courts.

Anonymous said...

Public right to know be damned...that is the Brown admin. motto. Always has been.. always will be. Tiger does not change his spots or hers in the case of Allen and now apparently Trapp. Trumpism on the local level..issuing executive orders the daily process of this group of so called leaders.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:42......
Research and you shall find. Morganelli has control over all his Asst't DA's and that is where it ends. He must follow all rules of the County for all other employees.

Anonymous said...

Children pouting. How would they like working in the private sector?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Morganelli is wrong. The Home Rule Charter does not give him this kind of control over his employees."

Oh yes it does,and you should try reading the Charter some time. It is very clear. And he has made it even more clear by suing over this issue and winning.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Section 503.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:30 am aka Amy Trapp:

The HRC is clear and Mr. Morganelli sued on this matter and has won in the past. The DA used the HR Office for efficiency of government and to assure that all the paperwork is in order to comply with the laws required to pay someone. The HRC and state Constitution would support an HR person for just the DA's office and could cut the administration off completely from his office.

John would never do this, but it is in the authority of his office to do so.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You can't have a detective be working 12 hours in Bangor, for instance, and have him drive back to Easton for the express purpose of punching out. "

But you can do this to a deputy sheriff on a hospital detail or who would be leaving from his home to pick up a prisoner? You can do this to an assessor? A CYF caseworker? In the end,this only works for a handful of employees and is not worth the cost or resentment. If you circulated among the people who actually work here, you'd know that.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You are correct the County HRC does not give John Morganelli the power over his employees, but the PA State Constitution does and that trumps the HRC."

Actually, it does, along with the state constitution making him autonomous.

Anonymous said...

Many of the new timeclock services are APP driven which would not require individuals to drive long distances to "clock in". It is not like the old days of a punch card. All you need is a smart phone.

It is still poor management though by Ms. Trapp to not review this with JM prior.

Anonymous said...

What Ms. Trapp fails to realize is that she will be forcing those employees that work early and or late to accommodate various functions for the county to stop this. So, for example if the court sentences someone to immediate house arrest on a Friday afternoon this will not happen until Monday. Hence the county will have to house the individual in the Jail for 2-3 days. Nice job Ms. Trapp. She should realize that people should be trusted and not monitored like a bunch of 5th graders. I guess she and Mr. Brown enjoy messing with the employees. They've done it before with the healthcare costs and they will do it again. I'd like to know what these time clocks cost?? 98% of the employee's work 8 hours and some even work more. Good by to volunteering to help outside normal hours.

Anonymous said...

What about those special employees that have been given permission to work from home?? Will they be required to come in to punch and then again to punch out?

Anonymous said...

First of all, is it true that HR Director Trapp has been riding a hoverboard in the courthouse? Is she nuts? They are inherently unsafe. What if she falls off and breaks her neck? Will she file a workers comp claim? It is unimaginable that the county's liability insurance would ever approve this practice. She should know this more than anyone. What kind of example is she in exhibiting such risky behavior? Is she a 10 year old who just wants to look "cool"? Second, the whole idea of time clocks is absurd. Is there a problem with time and attendance or overtime tracking that required this solution? How much did the system cost the county? What a waste of money and effort. This will only cause the further deterioration of county employee morale. The bosses, DA's office, courts will not comply. This will create resentment with front-line employees who are already treated poorly by this half-ass administration.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have not seen Amy riding around on her hoverboard. I saw it after Thursday's Council meeting, and my remark about it was actually a bit of teasing,.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Many of the new timeclock services are APP driven which would not require individuals to drive long distances to "clock in". It is not like the old days of a punch card. All you need is a smart phone."

Although technology has advanced, it still has not reached the point where you can really use your smart phone to clock in. I know there have been issues in places that have tried it. Wait five years, and then offer everyone a free iPhone and you may have a deal.

Anonymous said...

John Brown and his republican tax raisers on county council are the worst. Time for a huge broom to clean out the place and elect responsible adults. The Trumpions are a curse on the county.

Anonymous said...

The HRC is barely worth the paper it is written on. It was a grand bargain put together to please many special interest groups throughout the county. In its nearly 40 years of existence it has been challenged successfully on various points since it is often in conflict with state and federal laws which trump anything it says. Time to revisit this document and get it in some sort of compliance with the law.

Anonymous said...

8:43 - SERIOUSLY ! Apparently you must be one of those crybabies that wants $15.00 and hour for a do nothing, entry level, part time position at McDicks! Guess you are to lazy to get off ones last backside to get an education to find a good job . Another ward of the MACHINE!

Anonymous said...

Will the county be purchasing steam whistles to signify the start and end of the work days ?

Anonymous said...

I finally managed to find a copy of the Home Rule Charter. You can't get one from the Administration. You can't even get a copy of the Rules that govern the new policy of time clocks. I don't know what document everyone is reading but Section 503 of the Home Rule Charter doesn't say that Mr. Morganelli can give ten thousand dolar pay raises to his staff nor does it say he can give any pay raises to anyone. Where are you people getting this from. Are you trying to tell me that Mr. Morganelli can grant exuberant pay raises to his employees and then tell County Council to raise taxes to pay for them? if you are trying to tell me that than you are as crazy as Donald Trump.As an elected offical he has various courtesies extended to him under that 503 Article but unlimited pay raises isn't one of them. 503 also refers to Article VII of the Charter. These two Article go hand in hand. No where in the state does District Attorneys, Register of Wills, County Treasurers (or any other elected offical) have the right to give pay raises without the consent of the governing body. What a nightmare that would be. If that were the case, the Courts would have initiated the practice of giving pay raises to their employees a long time ago. You people are simply wrong.

Anonymous said...

"exuberant pay raises"

I would like an exuberant pay raise.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:44, you must be incredibly stupid to have to go to the council clerk to get a copy of the HRC when one is available online. Section 503 does give him nearly unfettered authority over his office and DOES give him unfettered authority over supervision of his employees, including the clerks. That means timeclocks come only if he says yes and he says no. He does not have absolute authority over salaries and I never said that. He does have absolute authority when it comes to supervision in his office. Given your lack of reading comprehension skills and inability to use logic,I suggest you apply for a cabinet position with Brown.

Dan Trapp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Well, it's 5:19, clocks ready for tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

Comments have been made about what a wonderful job Amy is doing compared to the last 10 years or HR Directors. Well, she has hired how many more people than they had which has increased the amount of money increased to the HR budget. She has also spent money on having her suite painted, new furniture, etc.

Also, her employees run out of the office at 4:30 PM, management included.

Why don't people check to see if someone is really in the HR suite on Friday's when the sign says there is a meeting in progress with the lights out.

The lower paid employees work way harder the HR management. Maybe the County should take her $110K+ and give bonuses to all employees for their hard work.

Lastly, did she even bother with the County's Solicitor to see if she is able to put the punching into effect. Oh, that's right she has a legal degree and runs the County.

Anonymous said...

Do any of these people know who the county executive is? We the people voted for him and he is in charge of the county. He is trying to run things like a business and save taxpayers money. Why do the DA and that Controller think they are the county executive? Elections have consequences and Brown and the council won.

This is just like what they are trying to do to the President. Union thugs and trough feeders are crying because they don't want to be accountable for their taxpayer funded jobs?

Stop trying to interfere with the head of the county. Let the government elected people do their jobs for us.

Anonymous said...

Surprised you are so articulate, HS grad Allen. Defend your sugar daddy. Without him you would be working as a Wal-Mart greeter and your home would be in a sheriff's sale.

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, but I don't really see the problem with time clocks. At domestics we're already monitored like children. Get to work 2 minutes late and its a problem, but regularly work during your lunch and stay late and that's just expected. I'm looking forward to having a record of the (unpaid) hours I actually put in. Hopefully I'll finally get some ot pay!!!