Local Politics

Workers protest state's payroll system

Posted August 29, 2008

— About a dozen employees, saying tbey represent many more at a special needs school in Wilson, protested the state's troubled payroll system, saying they are having too much money deducted from their paychecks to correct an earlier mistake.

Past problems surrounding the BEACON payroll system concerned overtime and shift differential pay.

However, workers at the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf were overpaid in June. In July, the state realized the mistake and notified employees about it.

They were given options to pay the money back then or to have a percentage deducted from their paychecks each pay period for several weeks.

The problem is, they say, that those who took the deduction option are getting paychecks for a lot less than they should.

"If it's not mine, take it," school employee Mavis Mercer said. "But they're telling me I owe them about $2,000 back. I didn't make $2,000 in a month. I want them to take what's theirs. Don't take what's mine."

Some employees say they aren't getting paid anything. And that means funds usually deducted for insurance benefits are not being paid. They are likely to have that taken out of their September paychecks.

"It's very frustrating," employee Daniel Varnell said. "I have to pay my bills. I have to pay for my car, my pager and everything – my food and my gas."

Dr. Dwight Pearson, the superintendant for the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Education Services, says the division will review each employee's case to determine a resolution.

"As far as we're concerned, it's a BEACON problem," he said.

The state controller is ultimately responsible for fixing the system.

Since rolling it out in April, the state has received thousand of questions and complaints about paychecks.

Employees can call hotlines to have their cases reviewed. In Raleigh, the number is 919-707-0707.  Elsewhere in the state, workers can call  866-622-3784.


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  • stateworker Aug 29, 2008

    Our agency was one of the first ones to convert to BEACON.
    Our employees have been suffering since Jan 2008.
    We've had problems ever since with employees being underpaid. If an employee works hours other the the normal day they get a raw deal! We went to all these sessions to help the programers build or conform this system to handle all the different pay types in State Gov payroll before they rolled this thing out. They didn't listen and have tried to program this monster as they go along. It's funny to me that a 76 million dollar system can't do what the agency payroll officers did for years. Everybody was paid correctly then. There were only a few problems here and there. They should have kept the Payroll Officer positions and paid them more for all the hard work they put into doing a job well done each and every month. The former payroll system was old, but it worked !

  • caitlynea Aug 29, 2008

    kill the system? The state has already spent $90 million fixing (or rather complicating) a system that already worked. They'll never admit that money was wasted.

  • commonsensical Aug 29, 2008

    Exactly. These folks were overpaid, but didn't say a word about it. They went out and spent, and are now complaining that they have no money and are being forced to pay it back? c'mon!

  • input Aug 29, 2008

    Everyone should now what their paycheck should be each month. If their check is higher or lower they should contact the payroll office. I bet the only ones complaining are those that were overpaid and are no being asked to refund the overpayment.

  • cc4042 Aug 29, 2008

    No kidding! I'm a state employee and it is frustrating, not only for me but for everyone I've talked to. It's become a running joke in my office...

  • Myword Aug 29, 2008

    Can no one kill this stupid system?!