Pay­roll er­rors in Howard Co. schools

About 1,500 work­ers got in­cor­rect pay­ments in this school year, of­fi­cials say

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Jes­sica An­der­son jkan­der­son@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jan­ders5

“I don’t want peo­ple to come away with this as a mi­nor is­sue. It’s desta­bi­liz­ing.”

About 1,500 Howard County pub­lic school em­ploy­ees have re­ceived in­cor­rect pay­ments this school year, of­fi­cials said. Some em­ploy­ees have re­ceived less pay than they were owed; some have re­ceived more. Some have re­ceived no pay at all. The prob­lems with the sys­tem’s com­put­er­ized pay­roll sys­tem have con­tin­ued through seven pay pe­ri­ods. The school sys­tem, which em­ploys about 8,100 peo­ple, adopted the new pay­roll sys­tem this year.

The av­er­age er­ror for af­fected em­ploy­ees was about $40, schools spokesman John White said. He said of­fi­cials have cor­rected the tech­ni­cal prob­lems and now are moni- tor­ing pay­ments.

Paul Lemle, pres­i­dent of the county’s teach­ers union, said the er­rors have caused se­ri­ous prob­lems for em­ploy­ees, es­pe­cially those who have au­to­matic bill pay­ments at­tached to their bank ac­counts and have not had enough funds to cover the de­duc­tions.

“It’s cre­at­ing hard­ship and con­fu­sion,” he said. “I don’t want peo­ple to come away with this as a mi­nor is­sue. It’s desta­bi­liz­ing.”

Donna Ta­furi, a para-ed­u­ca­tor at Ilch­ester Ele­men­tary School in El­li­cott City, said she re­ceived $6,000 last week, far more than the $700 she typ­i­cally re­ceives for two weeks of work.

She said she did not no­tice the er­ror be­fore she re­ceived a call from pay­roll Fri­day morn­ing.

The money was re­trieved from her ac­count; she was given the op­tion of pick­ing up a check for the cor­rect amount at school head­quar­ters or a di­rect de­posit that wouldn’t be avail­able un­til next week.

She opted for the di­rect de­posit.

“Luck­ily for me, I do have a hus­band and a sec­ond in­come,” she said.

An­other para-ed­u­ca­tor, Karen Filip­pelli, said she re­ceived $10,000 on Fri­day — “eight or nine times” what she was due.

She nor­mally is paid by di­rect de­posit but chose to pick up a check Fri­day. “I needed a pay­check,” she said. Lemle said he heard from others who re­ceived no money. He said school of­fi­cials of­fered them checks on Fri­day.

White said ad­min­is­tra­tors no­ticed the dis­crep­an­cies after re­view­ing the pay­roll sys­tem and sent let­ters to em­ploy­ees to no­tify them.

The school sys­tem be­gan us­ing the fi­nan­cial and hu­man re­sources man­age­ment soft­ware Work­day this year.

White said the pay­roll er­rors make up 0.2 per­cent of the to­tal num­ber of trans­ac­tions that took place over the last seven pay pe­ri­ods.

“We found those mis­takes and are mak­ing sure ev­ery­one is paid ap­pro­pri­ately,” he said.

The next round of checks is sched­uled Nov. 18.

The union has asked for de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about who has been af­fected and by how much.

Lemle said the school sys­tem hasn’t pro­vided that in­for­ma­tion.

“I think it’s our school sys­tem fail­ing to com­mu­ni­cate with its em­ploy­ees about is­sues and fail­ing to re­solve them in a timely man­ner,” he said.

Paul Lemle, teach­ers union pres­i­dent

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