Town talks modernization in wake of payroll slip-up

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By Jordan Fischer
jordan@youarecurrent.com

Fishers town officials sent out an apology to employees last week after a breakdown in the payroll system left some without their paycheck over the Veteran’s Day weekend.

“We’re looking at the situation with the clerk-treasurer’s office,” said Town Council President Scott Faultless. “They feel horrible. Everyone feels horrible that people got their pay late.

According to Faultless and Town Clerk-Treasurer Gaye Cordell, the problem stemmed from a “perfect storm” of events. Town employees had Tuesday off for Election Day, and Friday for Veteran’s Day – which also caused many banks to push back their processing deadlines on Thursday afternoon.

The Town’s payroll was submitted as usual by 4 p.m. on Nov. 17, Cordell said, though some council members questioned whether inefficiencies in the system played a larger role than the bank holiday. Clerk’s office employees currently have to manually enter employees’ information into payroll software after the town’s IT department provides a spreadsheet printout from the Kronos time-tracking program.

Cordell said that with over 400 employees now working for the town, this system is no longer feasible. She said she hopes for an early-February or late-March rollout of software improvements which would allow the time-tracking software to interface directly with the payroll system, thereby removing several steps between the employee and his or her paycheck.

In the majority of cases, Cordell said, the payroll processing delay didn’t result in any overdraft situations for employees, as banks were neither processing payments in nor out. In a few cases where employees were penalized because of the late payment, Cordell said the Town worked with the bank or credit card company to remove the charge. Any employees still in need of redress should contact the clerk’s office, Cordell said.

Cordell also took the opportunity to answer some residents’ questions about the lack of online payment options for town utility bills, and the clerk’s office policy of accepting in-person payments by check or exact change only.

“I’ve just heard horror stories about petty cash, and missing cash, and it’s just one thing I didn’t want to get into, so there is no petty cash within the town,” Cordell said. “If money comes up missing, it’s hard for everybody.”

As to online payments, Cordell said they may soon be an option.

“We’re looking at PayGOV for credit card usage as a courtesy,” Cordell said. “The town won’t incur any fees, but the person using the credit card would.”

Faultless said the Town had avoided credit card payments in the past because of a 3 percent fee providers charge residents for online payments, although he noted that it was a “very conservative” policy.

Cordell said she hoped the online payment option would be available for residents sometime at the beginning of next year.

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