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City and Union Negotiating Plan for GPS in Vehicles
Maximum efficieny is the City of Springfield's goal as it finishes negotiations with a vendor to install G.P.S. in vehicles assigned to the power generation and transmission divisions of the city owned utility company.
"With major storm events, this could perhaps help us dispatch crews more efficiently," said City Water Light and Power public information officer Amber Sabin.
But the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the union representing those crews, wants to make sure its efficiency and not discipline the G.P.S. is primarily used for. The city and union have hammered out a memorandum of understanding - or M.O.U. - which the city council will discuss at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday.
"Well, we wanted to protect certain rights of our members, and all the other G.P.S. M.O.U.'s that I've researched, there were disciplinary steps we want to avoid like trolling and that kind of thing," said Paul Moore of I.B.E.W. Local 193.
Under the M.O.U. the city cannot go back into an employees tracking data to look for disciplinary problems. It can however be used to confirm, what Moore calls a bona-fide claim.
"That means if there's an incident - there can't be just a call-in; there has to be some sort of proof - and then they can verify that proof with the G.P.S.," Moore said.
The Department of Public Works began using G.P.S. on its vehicles in 2011 and now has them on its entire fleet. The G.P.S. especially helps with plowing.
Public Works Director Mark Mahoney said Public Works has the same sort of rules when it comes to disciplining its employees.
"I'd often say nine times out of ten when we check - or more - generally there is not an issue," Mahoney said. "Sometimes it's a misunderstanding or we'll verify that sometimes on break or lunch, that kind of thing. But it's never initiated off of the AVL system."
The Springfield Fire Department also has G.P.S. on all of its rigs. Fire Chief Ken Fustin said apart from technical difficulties, the technology has increased efficiency.