MTA pushes biometric timekeeping at heated board meeting

A biometric clock.
A biometric clock.
Shutterstock
A biometric clock.

MTA pushes biometric timekeeping at heated board meeting

The technology, however, isn't impervious to abuse.
July 25, 2019

At a meeting of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Wednesday, board members voted to approve the controversial overhaul plan presented by consulting firm AlixPartners. Additionally, a number of other proposals were approved in the MTA’s July financial plan. Among them: a boost of up to $20 million for the MTA’s efforts to crack down on excessive overtime through a modification to the MTA’s contract with Kronos Inc., a Massachusetts-based company that provides time and attendance systems like biometric time clocks.

An earlier contract with Kronos was for $16,783,066 to provide time clocks and additional support material for time and leave management of roughly 26,000 employees. But this spring, the Empire Center released a report detailing widespread overtime abuse at MTA agencies, prompting an investigation and a mandate for biometric time and attendance systems across the board. To fund that expansion, the MTA is more than doubling its contract with Kronos. The contract modification approved this week – up to $20 million for additional deployments of the company’s software, hardware, and services – bumps the contract’s total value to more than $36 million and will cover more than 70,000 employees across all agencies.

Still, as new biometric clocks rolled out earlier this year, apparently disgruntled employees proved that the new system isn’t impervious to abuse. In June, MTA officials found that one of these biometric clocks was sabotaged with a cut cord at a Long Island Rail Road terminal. Later that month, the screen of another Kronos device was found smashed at a train yard in Brooklyn.

For the rest of today's tech news, head over to First Read Tech.

Annie McDonough
Annie McDonough
is a tech and policy reporter at City & State.
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