Alabama county verifies OT with prints

Jefferson County in Alabama has chosen the cutting-edge technology of fingerprint biometrics to help it with the age-old problem of verifying overtime claims.

With the county spending up to $6 million a year on overtime pay, being able to check that claims for overtime equal the time actually worked by nonsalaried workers had become a crucial issue, according to officials.

"We're not saying that there's actually been any fraud committed," said Billy Morace, director of Jefferson County's general services department. "But there is a need to be able to record the time that people clock in and out more accurately."

The new system will also make sure that the person who clocks in and out is the person who is working the overtime. There may have been instances when other people have clocked in for the worker, Morace said.

The new system requires each worker to have a magnetic swipe card that they use to clock in and out with, after which the worker is prompted to put a finger onto a pad, which scans the fingerprint and compares it to prints on record in a central database. The card information and scanned print must match for the time clock to accept the submission.

The county has placed a $460,000 order for 60 extra biometric time clocks to add to the 30 that are already being installed, Morace said. That amount also includes money for buying new servers and other hardware, telephone lines and software licenses associated with the move to the new system.

Morace expects the new clocks catering for all of the county's 4,500 nonsalaried employees to be installed by this summer.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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