The Whitley County Commissioners made a recommendation during their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, that most, if not all, county departments should transition into a mandatory clock-in/clock-out system.

According to Jana Schinbeckler, Whitley County auditor, many departments have had difficulties navigating the “Right Stuff” software that handles the timecards for county employees.

Some problems highlighted by Schinbeckler included the program’s failure to include paid holidays on the timecards, requiring the holidays to be input by hand for every employee. Overtime and compensation time, according to Schinbeckler, also had to be manually added for members of the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department and related agencies.

Commissioner Don Amber was the first to suggest that the county departments begin to move from the current timecard policies into a mandatory clock-in/clock-out policy. Save for certain departments, Amber saw no reason why such a change could not be made.

“It’s not a popular thing to do but it’s time we turn the switch,” Amber said. “It can be pretty easy to clock in and clock out. … It sounds like it may not solve all of our problems but it’s a start.”

Angela Campbell, human resource director, as well as some of the department representatives in the audience, advised the commissioners that this transition may not mean less work or problems.

“For a department like the sheriff’s department or maybe the highway department, it may be a little different for them because we shouldn’t necessarily require them to physically come into the jail to clock in and start their shift,” Campbell said. “We may have to still be flexible in regards to how we require that. I don’t know if it could be set across the board, but that’s something we need to look into.”

Sheriff Marc Gatton noted that the software does not make it easy for the department to adjust to shift swaps or changes, which is the main problem the group is facing right now. He admitted he does not see these problems going away with this proposed solution.

“We are going to continue to be that department that has problems with the software,” Gatton said. “It becomes a whole issue every time we swap schedules.”

The commissioners did not take an official vote for the discussion but advised Schinbeckler that they had a consensus in favor of moving forward.

Whitley County engineer Brandon Forrester presented the commissioners with a packet listing all of the annual bids submitted to the county for various resources such as oil, gas and ice grit. Forrester advised the commissioners that the listed ice grit provider had been late to submit its proposal but due to its quote being much lower than the rest of the bids received, he was still inclined to recommend the company.

“I don’t want to set a precedent, but I’d like to be able to accept the bid,” Forrester said.

Commissioner Thomas Western made a motion to accept all of the bids recommended by Forrester, but Amber voiced his objection, citing past experiences where his bids had been trumped by a company that missed a deadline.

“As a victim and a person who did things right, I can’t go along with accepting a late bid,” Amber said.

The vote ended up being 2-1 with Amber as the dissenting vote.

Forrester also presented five financial commitment letters to be signed by Commissioner Chairman George Schrumpf. According to Forrester, these letters are required by the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings program to ensure that if the organization awards grant money, the county will be able to pay its share of the matching grant. All five letters were approved and signed by Schrumpf.

The annual board of finance meeting was also convened during the Jan. 22. Laurell Schroeder from the treasurer’s office advised the commissioners that the county had a balance of $222,425.86 from investments in 2018.