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City gets new grants manager

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston city departments can no longer apply for state and federal grants during the "11th hour."

Shannon Milroy, director of the city's purchasing department, now organizes and monitors all those grant applications. And anyone applying for grants must notify her first with how much money it brings in and if there's future costs associated with that grant.

In the past, department leaders were out on their own applying for and acquiring grants for their departments, City Manager David Molgaard said during the city's Finance Committee meeting Tuesday night.

Sometimes those leaders didn't present their grant application for council members to review and discuss it. Those grants had been hastily approved without all the information upfront, he said.

Some grants have hidden stipulations that need evaluated to see if they're the right fit for the city, Milroy said. She said a grant approved in 2010 to build a floating boat dock at Haddad Riverfront Park, for example, required that the city maintain that boat dock for the next 20 years.

"If something happens with Mother Nature then we have to repair it," she said.

A majority of state grants require that City Council members pass resolutions in support first, Milroy said. If the applications are submitted late then council members don't have time to find the necessary support.

"I want us to get rid of that '11th hour' mentality," she said. "A lot of the time these grants get put on us at the last minute."

Also during Tuesday's meeting, City Council members approved the purchase of new scheduling software for the city's police and fire departments.

They agreed to buy the Telestaff Uniform Scheduling Software from Kronos Incorporated for $134,710.

The program does away with paper scheduling and overtime slips, said Deanna Sheets, director of the city's Strategy Management and Internal Operations.

Firefighters can now easily log employee hours and schedule vacation time. Previously, this was all done on spreadsheets and was very time-consuming, she said. If a firefighter wanted to take a vacation, he or she would have to ask for it a year in advance.

The Charleston Police Department's Uniform Services Division can also keep better track of which officers are assigned to patrol certain areas.

The system generates reports to give officials an understanding of where the department's money is going. The software shows a complete roster of employees maintaining military leave, jury duty leave and sick leave.

"The police and fire chiefs can be at home on Friday night and check the system on their iPads to see where everyone is at," Sheets said.

The city also agreed to upgrade its scheduling software for $32,465.

Reach Travis Crum at travis.crum@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.

 


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