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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Amended wishful thinking

The latest news on the ongoing Palm Beach County Schools payroll debacle.

Five months after the Palm Beach County School District issued more than 1,000 inaccurate paychecks because of problems associated with a new software program, many employees have finally gotten paid properly.

But for some employees who were overpaid, the glitches could have an effect next year when it's time to pay Uncle Sam. Officials still are trying to figure out how to identify the employees who could be forced into another tax bracket and will need amended W-2 forms before filing their returns.

Since the district hired PeopleSoft guru Mike Guay, who rescued the San Diego school district in its implementation of the program, there haven't been any more bus driver protests and the phones at the human resources department aren't ringing off the hook anymore.

"But that doesn't mean we don't have problems," Guay said.

"A vast majority of W-2s are going to be accurate," said Guay, who estimates fewer than 1,500 employees will need amended W-2s. "We're trying to correct the worst ones first."

The implementation of the new $19 million program called PeopleSoft during the summer resulted in more than 1,000 errors in paychecks, including many for the county's lowest-paid employees: bus drivers, night-school teachers and temporary workers. The new system also created a backlog of invoices from vendors.

PeopleSoft software, which many large companies and institutions use, has proved difficult to implement at dozens of school districts and colleges nationwide. Transitions to the system have caused errors in paychecks, financial records and W-2 forms.

Five months after the software was installed, officials are troubleshooting. It could take as long as nine months to solve all the problems.

Though some vendors have not been paid for supplies sent during the summer, Guay said it's unlikely they would end their relationship with the district or refuse to deliver additional supplies.
I blogged previously about these payroll/computer problems in posts here, and here.

Don't mind me if Mr. Guay's statements aren't very re-assuring to me. There are several reasons.

1- What's this talk of amended W2's? These are not sent out to employees till January and therefore none have been sent out yet. People have been paid incorrectly but no W2s would need amending.

2- It would be interesting to know if some school employees got overpaid, how much the amount comes to, and if the School board plans on re-couping the money. There is also the matter of taxes paid on wages that were reported and sent to the IRS. That's the tricky part of this whole mess. I don't know if overpaid Income or SS taxes can be recouped. In the later case, the School Board has paid more taxes than it should have. That total would be interesting too.

When Mr. Guay talks amended W2's what I really think he is mentioning is the overpaying of employees and how to untangle this tax mess.

3- As to the vendors, some may very well cease business with the Board. It all depends on the size of the company involved. The School Board by being behind in payment would almost certainly be in breach of contract with these people. They would be under no obligation to continue serving the schools(Though most would probably continue to do so) and be possibly able to collect damages because of non-payment.

Bottom line- The Peoplesoft software debacle is going to cost taxpayers dearly in this County. If the School Board or Art Johnson want to retain both taxpayer's and employee's trust, they need to fire those responsible for this. Maybe beginning with Superintendent Johnson himself.

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