New York Daily News Board of Elections making CityTime Switch by Celeste Katz
The Board of Elections may tiptoe further into the 21st Century if it's ordered to update voters via email and text, but there's already some other new tech in town.
The famously lumbering agency has already begun making the switch from old-school punch cards to CityTime, the modern (though sometimes troubled) employee check-in system, agency leader Michael Ryan told the Daily News in a recent interview.
"Up until now, the Board of Elections had been processing old-fashioned timecards [and] that required a manual processing of the timecards ona weekly basis, [including] overtime and requests for leave," Ryan said. "Clearly the city of New York has been moving away from that [with] the implementation of CityTime."
Workers in the BOE's Manhattan headquarters -- including top management -- started using the system Aug. 4 and now are all aboard.
Ryan said the entire agency should hopefully be on CityTime by the end of the year.
The system works on biometrics -- handprints -- and cameras triggered by motion sensors will also be deployed at Board locations to track workers' comings and goings, Ryan said.
A Department of Investigation report issued in the final hours of 2013 did raise questions of so-called time theft at the Board, but Ryan, hired as executive director one year ago, said he was not aware of any "widespread or otherwise pervasive problems" with workers messing with their clock-ins.
CityTime itself, on the other hand, has had some real issues: Three men convicted of siphoning away nearly $100 million in a massive kickback and money laundering scheme related to the timekeeping system got slapped with prison time this past spring.
The Board's modernization move brought accolades even from City Councilman Ben Kallos.
The Manhattan Democrat is head of the Governmental Operations committee -- and a longtime Board critic.
"The Board of Elections has taken the positive step of implementing CityTime to prevent possible fraud, waste and abuse. Executive Director Mike Ryan is showing himself to be the kind of leader we need to clean up the Board of Elections,” Kallos told the News.
“On February 28, Council Member [Vincent] Gentile and I held a hearing to investigate the disturbing Department of Investigations findings on the [Board]," Kallos added.
"This is the first major step we’ve seen resulting from the hearing, and I look forward to many more — including the adoption of an anti-nepotism policy and public postings for jobs.”