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New time clock, early retirements will save Manteca $1.2M annually
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The honor system for keeping track of municipal employee time is costing Manteca taxpayers $262,000 a year.

And how the city tabulates that time costs $42,000 more than it should.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider spending $108,000 for an automated employee clock in and out system based on thumb print scanning to save $308,000 a year. The system will pay for itself in 4.2 months. The council during the 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center will also consider implementing two years of additional service credit to encourage early retirements. Already enough employees have indicated they will take advantage of the offer to save $892,068 a year.

Those two actions will cut the projected deficit expected to start piling up after July 1 by $1.2 million. Those savings are recurring each year.

Currently, the city has employees manually enter their times. An employee in each department then must manually tabulate and double check the time cards. They are again checked manually by the Finance Department before payroll is processed. The new system can eliminate hundreds of hours of time in various department reducing processing costs each year by $42,000.

The annual savings associated with lost time due to tardiness, early departures, and long breaks is associated at $262,000. Under the new system, the employee has to physically scan their thumb print instead of just jotting down the time on a card. Employees are also on a complete honor system on weekends and holidays.

The savings, of course, won’t materialize if employees aren’t tardy, don’t leave early or take longer breaks than they are entitled to receive. However, if they do any of the three they won’t get paid for the transgression.

The $308,000 annual savings is projected after the $4,000 yearly maintenance costs for the system are taken into account.

The system would be put in place in phases. The goal is to start with all field crews this spring and then have all employees on the system by year’s end.

Golden Handshakes
The City Council is expected to formalize a plan that would provide two years of additional service credit for employees through the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS).

The strategy is in exchange for paying additional contributions to the CalPERS accounts for the employees so they can get full retirement they will step down two years earlier saving the city salaries that are typically at the highest end of the pay scale plus benefits.

The additional CalPERS contribution from the city wouldn’t start until two years down the road. It will come to an additional $33,528 annually.

The savings from the six employees who have indicated they will take the Golden Handshake is $892,068. There is no plan to replace the six employees. At least another six are pondering early retirements which would increase the savings.

City department heads will evaluate shifting workload to keep any additional positions vacant if possible. If they can’t they will hire at the lower end of the pay scale.

In addition, the city is making it a priority to offer general fund employees the opportunity to apply and fill vacant enterprise account fund jobs in the sewer, water, garbage and golf course operations. That way the general fund which is experiencing the deficit pressure will be able to reduce costs. Enterprise accounts are paid by user fees and not general fund money.