City scrambles as hundreds of its workers have problems with paychecks

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wwltv.com

Posted on May 25, 2014 at 6:43 AM

Updated Sunday, May 25 at 6:43 AM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- A payroll glitch inside City Hall is compromising hundreds of city employee paychecks.

Most of those affected are members of the NOPD. City officials blame growing pains in its newly upgraded payroll system.

For the last four decades, City employees got paid using a system dating back to 1972 until now.

We've been working very aggressively over the last year to transfer to a modern HR system, ADP is the firm we issued a contract to," said New Orleans First Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin.

The city confirmed the new system went live two weeks ago with administrative staff getting paid first. Kopplin says in that first group only 50 people caught paycheck errors.

This week public safety employees including fire and police departments were transitioned into the new system. Kopplin confirms 230 people, mostly officers, working for the New Orleans Police Department saw discrepancies.

"It is a holiday but people need their pay and that's our highest priority. We're working through the remainder of the day and into tomorrow to make sure that in the morning the HR managers at the districts for the police will have the a-line cards," said Kopplin.

The city is reviewing paycheck discrepancies issuing debit-like cards to city employees for any money owed. Kopplin says an investigation is underway looking into possible user error and coding issues.

"This is simply a lack of respect for our officers by the administration. Thinking they can do what they want, treat them how they want, without an explanation," said Raymond Burkart III, attorney with the Fraternal Order of Police.

The police union is also looking into the matter and says from the start it opposed putting police officers on the new payroll system. Burkart adds officers should have been warned about any payroll changes or potential problems with the new system.

"The problem is we've spent millions of dollars of tax payer money on a system that's taken how long to get into place? That clearly the officers are not prepared for and the city's not prepared for and its ridiculous," said Burkart.

Sentiments echoed by Police Association of New Orleans President Michael Glasser. PANO believes the city could have used those tax payer dollars in better ways.

"We fixed a detail system that wasn't broken. We fixed a uniform voucher system that wasn't broken. We fixed a payroll system that wasn't broken. We just keep implementing systems that don't seem to work very well," said Glasser.

The Landrieu administration hopes to have those payroll errors resolved by Saturday. The city is encouraging employees to take those debit cards to their bank of choice to avoid any future transaction fees.

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