Saratoga County employees are poised to enter the electronic age with the installation of a new paperless timecard system that’s expected to save the county more than $500,000 per year.
Saratoga Springs Commissioner Matthew Veitch explained the Kronos System will replace a timecard system that has been in place since the 1950s. According to Veitch, county supervisors started the Technology Committee in 2011, and one of its first tasks was to tackle the cumbersome and manual system of processing the county payroll.
“We are wasting a lot of resources and energy on processing the county payroll,” said Veitch. “We had dedicated employees whose only task was to process the payroll using a system that was inefficient and out of date.”
Currently, the county’s $69 million payroll takes 377 man-hours to process. That adds up to an annual cost of $235,000. Other costs related to the timecard system include the manual adjustment of clocks ever month and for daylight savings time. Since everything was done manually, there was also a lack of standardized rules from department to department.
“There were different interpretations in different departments,” said Veitch. “If you’re not tracking what is fair, no one really knows. It was very difficult to know when employees have time off and what they are entitled to.”
The Technology Committee sought proposals from several local payroll companies who specialize in automated time and attendance. Three companies submitted evaluations and all three projected substantial savings.
Although the county will have to initially invest $100,000 to install the system, projected savings per year range from a low of $500,000 to a high of $2.7 million dollars.
“That’s a huge savings,” said Veitch.
The committee settled on M.M. Hayes to provide the installation and service of the Kronos System. Veitch said that was for two reasons. First, the company invented the Kronos System and every bit of data will be hosted in the Capital District.
“It will be all secure,” said Veitch. “No one will be able to access any information,”
Secondly, Veitch appreciated the level of service the company will provide. He said none of the services will be outsourced.
“We looked at who would provide the best service at a comparable cost,” said Veitch. “They were the highest bidder, but were the best option all around.”
Veitch said the company would also give the county ownership of the equipment at the end of the five-year contract. The equipment will use biometric information like fingerprints or eye scans, making it less likely an employee might “cheat” the system.
The Saratoga County Supervisors voted to approve the new system at a Tuesday, Jan. 15, board meeting. Once the contract with M. M. Hayes is signed, Veitch expects the system will be up and running within in two or three months, but said a conservative start date would be late May or early June.
Despite the possibility of savings, Veitch said there will be no layoffs attached to the change.
“Our plan is to not lay off existing payroll employees but to use them more efficiently within the job functions they have,” he said.
Saratoga County Administrator Spencer Hellwig agreed that the new system will save a lot of time and money.
“The time and attendance system makes sense to become automated,” he said. “Overall, records will be much more accessible in terms of where employees are at and over time, there will be a savings in accurate record keeping.”
Alan Grattidge, the Chairman of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors, also believes the savings will be significant.
“This is a modern system that will give us a much better handle on efficiencies and keeping track of the different departments,” he said. “In the past all this was done manually. You could never see anything in real time”
Grattidge said the new system would allow departments to see what is going on, who is punching in late or taking a sick day they are not entitled to. He also said the new system will provide ways to improve efficiency in the county operations.
“I’m looking forward to seeing improvements in money and time,” he said. “Over time, the system will save the county money and make the system more efficient. That translates into savings.”