We trust you with a gun, but not your timesheet?

In yet another piece of odd drama, the Dayton FOP is coming out with both guns blazing. This time, they are protesting the implementation of time clocks for the department, which will probably force the city to pay their members more. Excuse me, yes, you read that right- the head of the union is against a new policy that should guarantee more overtime for more of his members:

Police union President Randy Beane said the time clocks must be a negotiated item in the union’s contract and if implemented, will cost the city “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in overtime.

“We’re tired of taking it from the city on things like this,” Beane said. “We have a lot of dedicated officers who come in early and stay late and don’t claim that time. If the city is going to start tracking it, it is going to cost them. Big time.”

Assistant Police Chief Wanda Smith said federal law prohibits the department from not paying people for the hours they’ve worked. “If Lt. Beane has info that this policy is being violated, he needs to bring it to the chief’s office,” she said.

Smith said the department’s budget will not be impacted. “Officers don’t get to choose when they come to work and just because they show up doesn’t mean they are entitled to get paid.”

Beane said the union plans to file an unfair labor practice charge because the city didn’t negotiate the clocks with the union.

via Police union vows to fight time clocks.

If this sounds strange to you, also realize that in order for most officers to actually work, they have to check in with dispatch (punch in) and check out a cruiser, weapons, ammunition etc. It’s not like they are running around without anyone knowing where they are.

If you trust them with a gun- shouldn’t we be able to trust their time on the clock without a time clock? Or, is there something we don’t know about.

Time Card

The Time Card that started it all

Now, it just so happens, I have a long history with the issue of keeping time for city employees- and there is a certain group who has been getting paid for working 52 hours each week- when putting in less than 36- and this has been going on for years. The Dayton trash collectors have been working a “make out and quick” schedule- where they finish their route- and they are done for the day. If they come in on Saturday to work a neighborhood alley sweep (to pick up what they missed while running after the trucks all week)- they are paid time and a half for a full 8 hour day- even if they put in less than 5 hours.

It was this issue that I was railing against back in 1996- which caused the City Commission to have one of their secret illegal meetings to discuss ways to limit citizen participation. Apparently- my big time card was a little too easy for people to understand.

It’s only taken 14 years to start accounting for employee time properly in Dayton.

Here’s our conversation on the subject on the Dayton Grassroots Daily Show:

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15 Comments on "We trust you with a gun, but not your timesheet?"

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Shortwest Rick
Shortwest Rick

I would think if the City requires some hourly employees to punch a clock they would have to make it apply to all hourly employees, since they deal with multiple unions. Should uniform cops punch a clock? Yes, they should be paid for all the time they are required to work. The City is probably already open to a lawsuit having for decades discouraged uniform officers from claiming time it takes to do reports. I don’t think installation of time clocks is an implication of distrust of the uniform cops, I mean they arrive and leave in their personal car like everyone else, what’s a time clock at the door next to the parking lot? It’s not like they respond to calls from home 24/7. Detectives, that’s another subject, they do respond to calls from home which means to time clock cops, detectives will probably need to become salaried employees, elevating them to some management grade that does not exist at this time, the FOP stands to loose union dues paying members in this scenario.

The other problem is every Joe that gets caught with the goods in his hand goes to court and pleads not guilty, the arresting officer has to show up and testify on the courts’ schedule or the case is dismissed. This we can’t change, the accused has the right to face his accuser, however, since we have a finite number of arresting officers in Dayton it would make more sense to schedule court dates to particular officer availability and court time be a regularly scheduled day of the officers’ work week instead of requiring them to appear in court on their day off. There’s a lot of inefficiently in the current system and time clocks will not fix or break it, FOP will fight it not on what’s fair, right, wrong or equitable but because they stand to loose union dues income.


The union is correct. If the city wanted the cops to punch in, it should have been spelled out in the contract. If it is not in the contract, the city cannot demand it.

Drexel Dave Sparks
Drexel Dave Sparks

Perhaps the bigger question is: Why do so many within’ the governmental management tent in the Dayton area not understand the fundamental aspect of labor contract law?
You negotiate a contract. You live by that contract until the next time contract negotiations come up.
If new work rules are to implemented, they MUST be negotiated between the two halves of the management team: Management and Labor. Pretty damn simple. Managers in the governmental tent who try to do otherwise are just wasting taxpayer dollars, diminishing the meaning of a contract, and opening up a bunch of unnecessary drama.

Jeff.....the other one....
Jeff.....the other one....

The problem isn’t with the time clocks or with punching in and out, it is with the practicality of it.  In the fire department we work from 7 a.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning.  We arrive early to make sure that at 7 am sharp we are ready to respond.  We don’t get paid extra for being early, nor do we wish to be paid extra for that time.  Most every morning a call will come in whether it be a fire, medical emergency or other incident prompting a response.  The oncoming shift will most often take the run for the off-going crews so that the city does not have to pay them overtime and so they can go home and get some rest.  With time clocks, this will not be allowed.  They won’t allow clocking in early to take the run so the only thing the city can do is pay the firefighters overtime while the oncoming crews wait (on the clock) for them to return.  These calls can last minutes or HOURS.  That is just one issue why time clocks do not work well with emergency management.  It isn’t about trying to get money or wanting to stick it to the city, it just doesn’t fit.


I say that police and fire should whole-heartedly agree to the time clocks. They know what the outcome will be and they can sit back and say “I told you so”. Better yet, add it to the labor contract so it’s harder to remove the time clock requirement. Of course, if they can put them on time clocks without it being in the contract, apparently the city feels they could get rid of them as easily too.


 Stepping over dimes to pick up pennies. Forget about people doing a better job, forget about making Dayton a better place to live and work. Time clocks? This is why the average guy can’t stand government and the bullshit that goes with it. A bunch a crying babies.

Someone needs to grow up, or grow some balls. Why TF don’t you complain about the toilet paper color. I hope all involved never get a raise and get pennies on the dollar to the real working people – those who take chances in jobs where disputing timeclocks would never exist.

Drexel Dave Sparks
Drexel Dave Sparks

Yeah, cops never take chances Gene.

Shortwest Rick
Shortwest Rick

@Drexel Dave & Dad, considering the City contracted for the time clocks in 2003 and have been phasing them in for the last seven years, if they signed the most recent contract with FOP and it prohibits time clocks, that would be dumber than dumb on their part. Of course, I haven’t read the current contract so I don’t know what it says, I can only speculate on this subject.

@Jeff, something I’ve always wondered about, I often listen to the police scanner and I’ll hear a cop ask for backup on a call to be told ‘It’s shift change, I’ll get you someone as soon as possible’. Now, I understand the concept of roll call and briefing, but it occurs to me that with the technology available, they could almost skip the inhouse briefing and send it to in car CRTs. Obviously this would enable staggered shifts, so the entire watch isn’t scheduled to be arriving or leaving at the same time. Said, is there anything particular about the fire department that demands the entire watch is scheduled to arrive and leave at the same time or could firemen be scheduled in overlapping shifts so they hopefully wouldn’t do a 27 hour gig? At least not very often. I mean, even seven-eleven schedules the next clerk in half an hour before the current one leaves, or is it just because it’s the way it’s always been done?

Jeff.....the other one....
Jeff.....the other one....

Over the course of my career I have worked past roll call literally a thousand times, I have put in for overtime during those times for a few dozen of those times.  Many times it is fifteen to thirty minutes, simply not worth the effort and to be honest, not a big deal, it is our job and we do it.  Some members request overtime for every minute, the majority do not.  It works, it flows and the job gets done and the city saves money during those times.  Time clocks will force the city to pay for every single minute an employee works past their scheduled time.  Imagine how much that will cost the city just in police and fire alone.  You cannot stop working past roll call due to the nature of emergencies and their timely response.  The officers in the Fire Department do not mess around, if you are one second late to roll call then you are called in late and your pay is docked, if you do that a few times in a year, you are terminated.  It has worked well since 1864 so I guess I just do not see the need.  Alas, if the city really wants them then we will be glad to clock in and out but I do hate to see the total cost of something so unneeded.

Drexel Dave Sparks
Drexel Dave Sparks

Even if the issue is not addressed directly in the contract, past practice is to be followed under U.S. labor law. And this subject as pertaining to the DPD falls DIRECTLY under that.
The city pursuing this in a non-negotiation manner just shows that:
1. They don’t know the law
2. They are willing to raise a fuss over issues they will ultimately lose, and like to wipe their anuses with our tax dollars.
If the union decides to take this to an unfair labor practices suit against the city, they win, hands down.
Any halfway decent union president never takes an issue to the legal process (arbitration, etc…), unless they are 100% sure they win, all while realizing that there is no such thing as a sure thing.

Drexel Dave Sparks
Drexel Dave Sparks
Roger from Allied Time

I understand the worries about overtime, however the truth is people DO lie about the number of hours worked. If this is a concern why do they not put the officers on salary and have the internal staff on the clock?

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

however the truth is people DO lie about the number of hours worked

Granted but those in power use their position to treat employees like servants which leads to the lie, so is a chicken or the egg.  I am on the side of addressing motivations instead of continuing to apply more oversight which inspires more crafty avoidance.  A slippery slope and one not addressed by the pharisees that institute this process .

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

The city pursuing this in a non-negotiation manner just shows that:1. They don’t know the law2. They are willing to raise a fuss over issues they will ultimately lose, and like to wipe their anuses with our tax dollars.

Drexel I get the law and I like Unions but look around the employees with Gov jobs are off the bottom line that the Dayton and for that matter the US cannot support anymore?  How did this happen, well for one Unions in there management’s quest to form separate unions and become fractionalized to the point Corporations could marginalize their effectiveness.   The employee unions better figure out that they are part of a pyramid scheme and if the top got too big or the bottom too small, TROUBLE.  Or if the union forgot what it was about like MAKING LONG LASTING QUALITY PRODUCTS, then the younion helped sell itself out.  The death knell for City Employees is nigh along with the inadequate services.  If you want to get ahead of this curve, (too Late) you better start out marketing your services or proposing ways that that taxpayer will think that your employment is worthwhile.  In spite of the Individualism BS we all need each other and until Unions figure out how to work together, they will be decimated by calling on the LAW.