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EMS director grilled over timecard issue
Commissioners irritated by vague answers
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County Commissioners Carl D. Bouldin and Randy England grilled EMS director Brian Jennings about alleged timeclock misuse by EMS employees during a Safety Committee meeting Monday night.
With an ongoing audit by the state to investigate EMS timekeeping records, questions were raised about the reasons for the audit and the need for the $4,600 purchase of a biometric timeclock system in May. The timeclock requires a fingerprint to clock employees in and out.
Said Jennings, “It’s just a way of protecting the integrity by having a system where you can’t have somebody clock somebody else in.”
Asked Bouldin, “The main purpose and the reason you went with this timeclock is because you didn’t trust your employees from clocking other people in?”
Jennings initially said timeclock fraud was not the reason for the highly advanced timekeeping system and said having four separate stations made it difficult to keep up with hours.
However, Commissioner Charles Morgan said timecard issues did play a part in the purchase.
“The reason we bought the biometric was to fix a problem we already had. There’s more to it than just people clocking in and not clocking out. There were issues that was supposed to stop. That person had to be standing in front of that clock to clock in,” said Morgan.
England asked if the problem was with employees clocking other employees in or out. Replied Morgan, “I don’t know if that’s what they were doing. I know people were getting paid when they weren’t there.”
At that point, Bouldin addressed Jennings on his earlier contradicting answer. Said Bouldin, “Well that’s what I asked and you said it wasn’t happening. What he just said was going on is what I asked and you said that wasn’t the reason.”
Replied Jennings, “Initially, we did not go to that system for that. Initially, we got the timeclocks because we wanted to know everybody was where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there. There are problems we were trying to solve and that is one of them.”
Bouldin and England agreed any employee willing to be dishonest about time is not someone who needs to be employed by EMS. Jennings said the issues have stopped since the biometric system was installed.
England then inquired about the current EMS audit, noting the lack of information received by the Safety Committee. “What about the audit the ambulance service just went through? What’s the update? I can’t really get the answers I’m looking for. When are we going to hear from that?”
Questions about the then-rumored audit had been brought up at the previous Safety Committee meeting and received a “no comment” from Jennings.
This time Jennings said, “It’s not something that is just random. It is not completed to my knowledge. When it will be I have no idea.”
Asked by England if it was a state-ordered audit, Jennings said, “I would say that it was ordered by the state. As far as an update on it, I don’t have an update. I’m not in the dark, but I’m not kept up to date as far as where we’re at, what the conclusion will be, none of that stuff.”
Morgan again clarified, saying, “This is not a normal audit. Cut to the chase, quit beating around the bush about it. Somebody asked for the audit. Who I don’t know. There was an audit asked for because of situations that might be out there. They may find nothing, they may find something. But it was asked for. It’s not a normal audit.”
At this point, Bouldin asked Jennings why he could not give a similar straight answer to the questions posed, saying, “You see the way he just answered that? That’s the way you should answer when we asked you that the first time. To the point.”
Jennings said he was asked not to comment by the state auditor.