Time clocks – ticking away in Cumberland County…

Yesterday I posted a little something concerning abuse of time clocks in the county. I was almost immediately contacted by an anonymous caller, who filled in some of the blanks.

Apparently, in order to ensure that people were actually showing up to work, the Freeholders instituted a mandatory time-clock policy. Every employee, I am told, salaried or hourly, must clock in.

To bypass the system, the unofficial policy is for salaries employees to only punch the clock one time, to prove they were in the office that day. However, there are reports that some people would drop by, clock in, and then immediately take off for a day at the shore.

When this abuse was brought to the attention of the county prosecutor, she refused to pursue it, citing “conflict of interest”. That was probably the proper course of action, and I understand the situation was then escalated to the State Attorney General.

I understand that people’s jobs were in jeopardy merely for talking to state investigators. These people are telling me that personally, this is not through a third party. There are some administrators such as warden Bob Balicki that are upset that nothing is being done on this matter. Balicki, to his credit, has been voracious in looking for ways to save tax payers money at the county jail. That is as it should be, and say what you want about his politics, he has my total support in these matters. Support, as long as security and safety at the jail is not compromised.

There is much more to this story – and I am getting the information in bits and pieces. As I piece it all together, you know where to find it.

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15 Responses to Time clocks – ticking away in Cumberland County…

  1. Calhoun says:

    I believe the time clock policy Carl referred to was adopted at the 24 Nov. 2010 freeholder board meeting this matter no doubt being overshadowed by all the hullabaloo surrounding the chapel and surrogate pay raise issues. It is Policy No. 4.21 and it makes clear that hourly employees must clock in and out, whereas salaried employees only clock in (but not out upon departure).

    Such a policy for the salaried employees is ripe for abuse, like Carl described above. Nonetheless, the activity Carl described (clocking and then leaving) is, of course, a forbidden practice and Policy 4.21 makes clear that falsifying time sheets — and it’s a safe bet that someone who did clock in and then left work would probably be faking his/her time sheets (why clock in on a day you didn’t claim to work?) — consitutes fraud and will be investigated and disciplinary action taken. Moreover, the disciplinary action may not end with those guilty of faking time sheets because supervisors are responsible for certifying “the accuracy of the hours recorded by the employee by maintaining knowledge of the employee’s starting and ending times.” Furthermore, the Payroll Office is responsible for the compliance of this policy.

    Therefore, if it were shown that there was widespread abuse of the policy, this could go up the ladder to the superiors and even the county Payroll Office. This may explain blowback some may receive in trying to expose such fraud.

    I never understood such dual policies — not uncommon — for salaried and hourly workers. To me they both should clock in and out, the only difference being that salaried folk won’t get paid overtime (unless approved) if they work extra hours because they are not hourly. I worked at a job where there was a time clock and everyone from the president on down used it. I liked working there. Everyone was equal with respect to time reporting. There was something just right about seeing the president queued up with the janitors and cooks waiting to punch in in the morning.

  2. Bluegrass says:

    It seems like every agency under the sun has been investigating Cumberland County for one thing or another, yet nothing ever comes of it. Your County Prosecutor is part of the problem, and the Attorney General’s Office is a waste of time and tax payer dollars.

    I see that not even your regulars have commented on your recent posts about the various investigations into corruption in Cumberland. You would think the public would cry out to put an end to this. Are they still fearful of the retribution that comes with taking the high road? Or is a total lack of caring?

  3. WuLi says:

    @Bluegrass – I too am surprised at the dearth of comments. When it comes to these matters, I suspect that it is fear of retribution. Since posting some of the recent posts, I have been privately contacted by people that have lost their jobs, or have been on the receiving end of one sort of retribution or another. The people behind these actions still hold power, and one current freeholder is peripherally involved.

  4. bluegrass says:

    Could that Freeholder be the current Director? That is the problem with government in NJ..rule by threat. Carl..while you are out there unearthing all the ills of this county and the stories of corruption..remember this…the devil is in the details. Sooner or later karma will find them all.

  5. Bluegrass the only reason you don’t see or here anything about corrections in Cumberland County is no one who knows about it will not open up and talk to the invesagators. They will not investagate here say or second handed information.

  6. 2cents says:

    Maybe the prosecutor said it was a conflict of interest because she is one of the ones doing it.

  7. 2cents says:

    If you want to check time cards take a look at Balicki and Matlock, too. Actually, just look at the particular job position and if they are one of Magazzu’s hand-picked people then you pretty much have the list of who’s doing it. By the way, this time card thing is really only a sham policy and isn’t followed through by anyone at Admin. Considering in this day and age with modern technology you have to wonder why the county is using old fashioned paper time punch cards in the first place. Anyone can punch in for anyone else. Every employee has a magnetic identification swipe card. Wouldn’t it be a more effective system if those were used instead. Oh wait, problem with that is the employee actually has to be there in person to do it. And were back to go, again. Paper punch cards are easier to get around and keep the don’t look too hard or you might find something wrong and force the the County Administration and freeholders to actually deal with the problem.

  8. WuLi says:

    I have heard from several people now that time sheets in many departments have been fraudulently maintained, showing people working eight hours when they barely stopped in. There are employees that begin work at noon or 2pm on a regular basis. Apparently nobody is held accountable – the sound you hear is our tax dollars being being sucked down a drain.

  9. Colorado Patti says:

    In the Federal system, where I am, scrutiny of timesheets is the responsibility of the supervisor. If the supervisor doesn’t care, and/or if there is no oversight by means of an audit, then wrongdoings will never be uncovered. In the Federal facility in which I work, I wear a badge around my neck all day long. I have to swipe to the west wing, swipe out to go to the smoke shack on break, and swipe back in to back to my cube. There are tons of records of employees’ whereabouts, and how long they were out and how long they were in the building. But if nobody cares, And by the way, just because someone is IN the building doesn’t mean they are doing the job for which they were hired. Trust me on this one.

  10. Bluegrass says let me clarify what I ment. The FBI was in Cumberland County about 10 years ago. They saw the corruption here. The problem was getting someone to talk. They tried there darnest but no one would talk. Hopefully they will come back and people would open up. I know about 15 years ago the attorny generals office was down and that’s when some action was taken and even an inditment was handed down by the grand jury. Hope that will help.

  11. CBKennedy(previous new2cumberland) says:

    @ Colorado Patty—Your screen name is the same as a regular contributor to the BEN column. Are you one and the same?
    Just curious, for the most part JHummel is regarded here as -a pathetic toadie.

  12. millville magnus says:

    In defense of Jack, and we have had some serious differences over Magazzu, he ain’t so bad. He manages to grind out his column six days a week, and has to plow through (and use) some pretty inane material. To some extent, I suppose he is limited by the same problem local reporters face, even when there is an opportunity for some good investigative work — like the Cumberland Manor situation. That is the overall gutlessness of the local papers. They are terrified of being sued. Also, give Jack points for being a big time animal lover.

  13. gilgamesh says:

    The prosecutor can and should investigate. The only “conflict” is the prosecutor answers to the freeholders. In reality she shouldn’t, but she doesn’t know her job and doesn’t care to learn. This is a stepping stone for her to bigger and better. Thanks to home rule she can’t upset the apple cart and risk her ambition. One bad grade from one of our county lumps and she is finshed. She will do there bidding and get her judgeship…. or so “I heard”.

  14. CBKennedy says:

    @ Millville Magnus—You are much more magnanimous to Mr Hummel than he deserves.

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