The Pulaski County Council will not provide funding for a $35,000 payroll and time clock system. Auditor Laura Wheeler got approval from the county commissioners last week, but had less success when she brought the request to the council Monday.
She explained that the current time clocks work, but their software makes the process more time-consuming for her office. “A new system will eliminate a lot of hours put in, and it will give me more time to do the job that I really need to do, as opposed to what I’m doing,” Wheeler said.
She added that the county would have to pay a $35,000 annual fee going forward, which is about $7,000 more than the county is paying for its current time clocks. The proposal would not only include eight time clocks but also a payroll system. Wheeler added that she had initially requested funding for the purchase in next year’s budget, but moved it up, since the system is currently on sale at a much lower price.
But Council Member Kathi Thompson said that after all the times Wheeler has discussed the purchase, she still didn’t have a sense of what’s wrong with the current system and why the county should spend that amount of money. “We have famously heard that the IT budget is gone,” Thompson said. “It’s gone. It was gone mid-year, so there’s nothing left in the IT budget, and looking at what we’ve budgeted for other things for the year, I don’t see where that money’s going to come from.”
Wheeler responded that the council has authorized additional appropriations for several other departments this year.
With the council currently trying to avoid a $2.7 million deficit that’s expected to develop, Council Member Rudy DeSabatine didn’t think it was the right time to make the purchase. “I don’t think we can do it right now,” he said. “I think we need to wait for a while, let the dust settle. We need to get through the budget thing of it first before we talk about anything like this.”
In the end, no formal action was taken on Wheeler’s request.