After challenges with new HR software earlier this year that left city workers without paychecks, officials on Wednesday told a Baltimore City Council committee that fixes are being made to the issues. However, there are still issues with accuracy of those checks, though they are improving, the officials said.
The testimony came during a hearing of the Public Safety and Government Operations committee, which updated the implementation of the new system for payroll and human resources functions, called Workday. It was introduced in the final days of 2020 to bring software to a system that relied on paper timesheets. At the beginning of the year, the transition to a new system left many city employees with inaccurate pay, or missing paychecks altogether.
At the hearing, Baltimore City Information & Technology Director Todd Carter and Director of Finance Henry Raymond delivered a presentation outlining the implementation of Workday, and the pay issues of employees since December. In their presentation, they maintained that the issues with Workday are within normal parameters, and that the City has been on a consistent trend of stabilization with the system. Since the February 5 pay period, there have been zero employees working hours and not getting paid, according to data from the directors.
In terms of pay inaccuracies, Raymond showed that issues are improving with each pay period, and fewer paychecks are incorrect. Raymond attributed these issues being resolved to more training and increasing comfort with the Workday system, and alterations of pay calculations where needed.
14th District City Councilwoman Odette Ramos asked why the pay calculations weren’t corrected during the rollout and testing phase months ago. Carter responded that the previous ADP system wasn’t well documented. Human Resources didn’t have the full details needed to create the correct calculations in the new system, or deliver the best training on it, until after the system was live.
“There’s just a number of unknowns,” said Carter. “There’s no reference document that says, this is where you can get the answer or the details to this particular [payroll] question.”
Getting rid of these unknowns and creating better transparency is the goal of Workday, and one of its primary benefits moving forward.
By the end of the presentation, Raymond concluded that the major issues with the Workday rollout had been resolved, and only one issues remained: Overpayment collections. That’s collecting money back from employees that received more money than they were supposed to.
The directors also acknowledged that there are still outstanding issues with the fire department employees, but these issues predate Workday and require more time to solve.
Testimony from Baltimore Firefighters Local 734 President Rich Langford and IAFF Baltimore Fire Officers Local 964 President Josh Fannon and city employee Solomon Lynch dispute the claims that Workday issues have been adequately resolved. Local unions wrote a letter to the city administration last month listing a range of issues, and the union leader said many of those concerns have still not been addressed. Lynch, meanwhile said he hasn’t received back pay or restitution for the months when his pay was mishandled.
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
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