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Questions raised about Johnstown payroll

Johnstown Councilman-at-Large Craig Talarico discusses an issue at the recent Johnstown Common Council meeting at City Hall. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — A city councilwoman is asking her fellow officials to respond soon to concerns expressed by the internal control office about procedures involving city government payroll.

In his September report, Internal Control Officer Darryl Purinton addressed payroll cycle policies and procedures. He provided a state comptroller’s report of examination, internal controls over a period covering from 2014-15. He provided the council with a draft copy of payroll cycle policies and procedures, noting they remain unimplemented.

At the council’s recent meeting at City Hall, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Amy Praught said Purinton deserves answers.

“He has given us 90 days to respond to the payroll situation here,” Praught said.

She suggested the council act “sooner than later,” asking why city government is “not using time clocks across the board.”

“I think it’s something we need to move on,” Praught said. “I think our internal officer wants something in 90 days. Let’s do it.”

Mayor Vern Jackson said he’s aware of the city Department of Public Works having a time clock.

“The workers down there use one,” He said.

Praught said “everyone should” be using time clocks in city government — something that could be written into policies and procedures.

In other council discussion, Praught reported she toured the city Water Department facilities and found the infrastructure to be very old.

“It is shocking how ancient the parts are,” she said.

She said it was “unfortunate” the department and Water Board has no one to back up Johnstown Senior Water Treatment Plant Operator John Denmark whenever he retires.

On another topic, Praught said she met with the “blight” group — a group of concerned citizens who raised concerns earlier this year about dilapidated properties and non-payment of back taxes.

She said she met with the group — Johnstown Citizens in Action — over two weeks ago at Knox Field.

“They’re just looking for answers,” Praught said

She said members of Johnstown Citizens in Action still have many questions she said could be parceled out to city department heads.

“They’re citizens of Johnstown,” Praught said. “They have a right to know these answers.”

The councilwoman said the council may need to bring department heads back to monthly meetings.

They have been absent from the sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other discussion, 4th Ward Councilman Max Spritzer noted Citywide Cleanup will be from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 15 and 16; and from 7 a.m.to 1 p.m. Oct. 17.

Mayor Vern Jackson noted the council’s next business meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at City Hall.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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