TOWNSEND — Town accountant Kimberly Fales addressed the Board of Selectmen to ask that all employees turn in weekly pay sheets, even if they do not work during a certain week.
“The time sheets should come in weekly and, for the most part, that is done,” Fales said. “We need to know who has worked overtime, by all employees, as the overtime calculations can be cumbersome.”
Fire Chief William Donahue was present for the payroll discussion, and said his department is handled differently since he has many on-call employees who do not work on a regular schedule.
“My on-call guys do their time sheets on a monthly basis,” the chief said. “If they respond to a fire call, the one in charge checks off their name on our sheet. They fill out the paperwork once per month.”
Chairman Robert Plamondon said time sheets should be handled consistently for all departments.
“It will make sense to standardize this procedure,” Plamondon said.
Selectman David Chenelle said it does not make sense to have on-call firefighters come in at the end of the month to fill out paperwork, but they are hardly in a position to fill out forms at a fire scene.
“You can’t expect the guy to stand there and do a time sheet with all his gear on,” Chenelle said. “But does it make sense to have him come in for an hour or so from his regular job, then we pay him for that hour to fill it all out?”
Selectman Maureen Denig agreed with Chenelle.
“It is not practical for someone to come in and pay them for that hour,” she said. “We need something to fit for a firefighter who only does on-call work, and not EMT work.”
Fales said that raised another issue with payroll — people who work in more than one department.
Chenelle asked about having the time sheet signed by the actual employee, or just the supervisor at the time.
“Does the employee actually have to come in and sign off, or can just whomever is in charge do that?” he asked.
Plamondon said he believed the person who worked had to sign off on his own time card, according to the personnel policies and procedures now in place.
Former selectman Daniel Murphy suggested allowing no exceptions on time sheets for any department.
“If you start making exceptions for one department, you’ll be doing it for everyone else,” Murphy said. “This should be consistent across the board.”
Denig asked Fales if time sheets could be mailed to the chief, who could then sign them and turn them in weekly.
“As long as I get them and know who worked, it’s fine with me,” Fales said.
Town administrator Gregory Barnes weighed in on the matter, noting the best way to handle payroll is with computer software that tracks everyone’s time worked.
“This is something we can look at down the road,” Plamondon said, “but for now I think if everyone turns in a weekly sheet, it is consistent for everyone.”
Chenelle made a motion to re-affirm the policy in place for all employees, to turn in signed weekly time sheets, and the rest of the board agreed.
“As long as this is acceptable with the accountant to streamline her job, and we know software is the ultimate solution to this issue,” he added.
Donahue asked if having each on-call firefighter initial the general “run sheet” would help in knowing who worked each week.
“Instead of just having the supervisor check off a name, how about if the firefighter also initials next to his name on the run sheets and I turn those in, too?” he asked.
Fales said that would be a good way to track the work activity of the Fire Department and make her work easier.