Letter from President Russell to the City of Mesa Mayor and City Council reference Kronos

The following was sent to Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and members of the Mesa City Council:

 

Mayor and Council,

I am writing you to express my frustration with Kronos, the timekeeping aspect of CityEdge.  I am aware of the significant investment in CityEdge by the City (24.7 million) and I have a genuine interest in seeing that investment succeed for the City.  I just spent my second four hour block of training for Kronos in the past few months.  I firmly believe I left more confused than when I started.  After the class, supervisors from throughout the Police Department also expressed their concerns with Kronos to me.  The majority of the concerns were the amount of time it requires our front line supervisors to use the system.  This has drastically reduced the amount of direct supervision we are able to provide to our officers.  This lack of direct supervision has greatly increased the liability to the City.  One supervisor explained to me during his previous week, he was only able to respond to one call with his officers due to the administrative workload Kronos has placed on him.  With the increased emphasis on supervisor accountability within the Police Department, we are setting up our supervisors for failure.  The MPA has tried to address the concerns to City Management without success.  It appears City Management had a “go forward at all costs” mentality regarding Kronos.

City Management did allow Department Heads to raise concerns with Kronos prior to the July 2nd implementation.  The Mesa Police Association, as well as Leadership within the Police Department, raised very similar concerns as to the effects of Kronos on the daily operation of the Police Department. It appears those concerns raised by the MPA and department leaders; fell on deaf ears in the Executive Steering Committee.  Several department leaders from around the City requested exemptions to several areas of Kronos due to operational concerns.  I am sure those exemption requests are still available for you to view.  Some of our concerns in the Police Department were addressed in the MOU process, but many are still unresolved.

In early 2012 I contacted multiple other police agencies around the country who currently utilize Kronos.  All of them expressed significant frustrations with the system.  The common theme from those agencies was the timekeeping aspect does not easily adapt to a 24/7 operation such as public safety and greatly increased the workload on their front line supervisors.  The majority of those agencies explained to me that they have, or have begun the process, of exempting public safety from Kronos.

Under Kronos supervisors, in addition to their normal responsibilities, are required to track hours, create activity codes for specific employees working under grants and special projects, create codes for FMLA, workman’s compensation or modified duty assignments, assign both scheduled and unscheduled leave, track and schedule staffing models, etc.  Previously the supervisor simply entered the officer’s hours onto a document and the civilian timekeepers relayed them to payroll.  This is a drastic increase in the amount of both knowledge base and job requirements of our front line supervisors.  Prior to Kronos, each station or unit within the Police Department had its own timekeeper.  These positions were civilians and they entered each employee’s hours worked into the system. We have adapted Kronos to this model in a few of our units within the department, such as Motors, Street Crimes, Gang Unit, SWAT, who do not always start the day at a time clock.  In those areas a “super timekeeper” assumes the responsibilities of the supervisor by entering the officer’s hours and creating activity codes.  These individuals have developed into subject matter experts (SME’s) in Kronos.  This has greatly streamlined the process in those units.  Additionally, it has taken a great deal of workload off the Sergeants and Lieutenants.  Obviously this allows those individuals to supervise our officers as they perform high risk, high liability job duties.  I believe department leadership will also be making a similar request of City Management to expand this approach to the entire police department.  This is a common sense approach that still will allow for supervisor accountability of hours worked, but will free up our supervisors from an undue amount of administrative responsibilities.  Public Safety is already a complex process that requires several levels of supervision and accountability; we simply need the ability to offer our employees that level of supervision.  I am requesting you listen to your police officers and Police Department leadership and urge Mr. Brady to adapt the super timekeeper approach to the entire Police Department.

 

Respectfully,

Ryan Russell

President – Mesa Police Association