Northampton County's district attorney is dead set against a plan to force his employees to clock in each day for work with a fingerprint scanner.
County maintenance workers on Feb. 17 installed a wire outside the entrance to the district attorney's office and plan to mount a clock there which will require employees to punch in and out with a fingerprint scanner each day to prove they worked a full shift.
But District Attorney John Morganelli said he'll instruct his staff not to use it the clock unless he's forced to use it by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
"This time clock thing, all it does is its gets people upset," he said.
Employees often have legitimate reasons for being a few minutes late, he said. Maybe it's an icy day. Maybe they have to drive around looking for a parking spot since they're not lucky enough to have a reserved one like many of the county's top administrators.
Northampton County Director of Administration Cathy Allen had no comment on the time clock controversy. She said County Executive John Brown and Human Resources Director Amy Trapp wouldn't comment either.
Morganelli said he was told by Trapp that the time clock would apply just to clerks, not the assistant district attorneys. The clocks apparently will be installed in all county offices, he said.
Many of Morganelli's clerks have to work second jobs because the pay in his office is so poor. Brown slashed their benefits after taking office.
Forcing them to punch in and worry about whether they're a few minutes late will only make them resentful and will decrease morale.
If employees are regularly 20 minutes late or an hour late, that's a different story. When employees have had problems with tardiness in the past Morganelli has addressed the problems. But it's not a chronic issue, he said.
"I just think this is unnecessary because I don't have a problem to fix," he said.
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He said the county's Home Rule Charter gives him the authority to direct, supervise, dismiss and discipline his staff. He has fought efforts by past county executives to manage his office and won.
"Even if they have a time clock upstairs and they find out Susie Smith comes in 10 minutes late every day, what are they going to do about it? I'm not firing Susie Smith if I think she's doing a great job," Morganelli said.
He rebuffed a request from Trapp on Tuesday to discuss the matter.
"I don't have time to waste," Morganellli said. "I don't sit around talking about things that I don't want to do. There's nothing they can say to convince me this is good for my office. I don't have a problem to fix."
Rudy Miller may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.
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