Cook County Moves Forward with Pilot of Bio-Metric Time and Attendance System

October 2, 2015

The days of receiving paper paystubs and using sign-in sheets to track employee attendance will be permanently relegated to the past under a modernization effort being spearheaded by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Cook County government is taking important steps to embrace new technologies by installing biometric time clocks and eliminating paper paystubs, which is expected to cut payroll-related costs by minimizing payroll errors that occur with the time-worn manual process, and eradicating abuse by introducing better controls.

We are making major progress toward replacing outdated technologies and moving Cook County into the 21st century, Preckwinkle said. Through these projects we can provide departments the tools to reduce the manual collection and processing of time and attendance records, improve record keeping and bring much-needed improvements to our old systems while ultimately reducing costs to residents.

Being able to automate and integrate time tracking for the County's approximately 23,000 employees at more than 100 locations will be an important management tool for County departments to improve efficiency and streamline operations and increase accountability and transparency. Nearly three-quarters of County employees' time was traditionally tracked manually.

Cook County is projecting $14.6 million in overtime reduction across all funds in the upcoming budget year. Numerous actions will contribute to this projected reduction -- including management initiatives under way at Cook County Hospitals System and a number of coordinated efforts led by separately elected offices -- the time and attendance project is designed to be a part of a comprehensive strategy across the County to reduce overtime.

Clocking in with a paper timecard or filling out a daily timesheet will ultimately be eliminated under the time and attendance project. A proximity card along with a biometric authentication will be used by employees at the beginning and end of each day to sign in and out. The pilot of the new system will is being launched in partnership with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Sheriff's Office and Forest Preserves of Cook County, with a full Countywide rollout expected by mid-2016.

This is an ambitious project that has been possible thanks to the cooperation and support of our Countywide elected officials, Preckwinkle added. These innovative efforts are essential to keep up with the evolving technological landscape, reduce costs in the long-run and improve efficiency.

We appreciate the support we have been receiving from across the County, and I particularly want to thank Sheriff Dart, Clerk Brown and Forest Preserves Supt. Randall for being part of the pilot.

This year, the County's Office of Enterprise Resource Planning has been working with the Comptroller's Office, Bureau of Human Resources and the Bureau of Technology to roll out several additional process improvements to increase efficiency and reduce costs. One of the most important will be Employee Self Service, through which all County employees will be able to review their pay statements electronically while eliminating physical paystubs and saving annually approximately $20,000 in paper and printing costs as the County continues to look for savings in the 2016 budget.

In the upcoming budget, Cook County will increase efficiencies, decrease expenditures by more than $100 million, and address legacy debt service costs, pension liabilities and much-needed infrastructure and transportation improvements as part of creating a long-term and sustainable fiscal structure.