Local Politics

Problems with state's payroll system fixed

Posted January 30, 2009

— Problems afflicting the state's payroll system should be resolved, the state controller is telling legislators.

In a letter Friday, Controller David McCoy reported to the General Assembly on the troubled Beacon system, which processes paychecks for nearly 90,000 state workers.

For almost a year, state employees have complained about paycheck errors, including wages coming up short and being overpaid.

Those problems were linked to a number of errors dealing with benefits, overtime and differential pay. McCoy said the issues had to do with data and encoding problems, as well as input errors. The office went through all employees' records to make sure they were coded correctly.

As of Friday, those who were owed money will have received it in their most recent check. More than 5,000 employees who were overpaid, had that amount deducted, McCoy said.

McCoy said his office notified state departments early this month about the fixes and said it was up to each department to notify its employees.

Those who had money deducted from their paycheck Friday can go to their human resources department and request an advance and then pay the money back over 10 months or have a percentage deducted from checks each pay period until it is paid off.

"We're required by law to recover those funds, but we also recognize there are families that receive those monies, and we don't want to impose a severe handicap on them. So, we are working with the agencies," McCoy said.

The state signed a $28 million contract in 2006 to replace a 30-year-old human resources and payroll system. After the cost grew to $71 million and the system had gone through an initial testing phase, Beacon was rolled out statewide in April.

Between December 2007 and August 2008, the Beacon call center received more than 64,000 questions and complaints from state employees.


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  • jhw2 Jan 30, 2009

    BEACON IS FAR FROM FIXED. For some reason, which no one wants to explain, Department of Corrections employees are still banned from going on line to check our time, vacation balances, etc. We have to take BEACON's word that we aren't getting screwed. And I for one DON'T TRUST BEACON after seeing how flawed it is. We are currently preparing a class action law suit, and are also preparing to ask the Police Benevolent Assoc legal department to step in, on our behalf.

  • tina2117 Jan 30, 2009

    By no means am I a fan of Beacon, it's caused a lot of problems for some of my employees.

    However, "Beacon is still BROKEN. It is down a lot and yes, for the first time ever, I am getting TWO w-2s from the same employer..."

    You're getting two W-2s because we were on the Atlas system through March. They told us (at least they told my agency) in March 2008 to expect two W-2s and repeated the same message at least three times over the past month. Sometimes Beacon goes down when they're trying to correct the programming errors and your account will be inaccessible when they are processing data in your account. This happens at various times during the week. Try logging on a few hours later. One last tip, if you have leave amount errors, there is a way for them to go back into the Atlas system and get your leave totals as of March 31, 2008, just before the switch.

  • tina2117 Jan 30, 2009

    "Sorry to disagree but you can only access Beacon from your dept's computers. It won't work from your home P.C."

    Actually, you can access beacon from your home p.c. I do it every week to process my employee's time sheets. Go to www.osp.state.nc.us. Click on administrative resources. There's a link to Beacon--just click on the blue icon. All you need is your ncid and password.

  • CozyCake Jan 30, 2009

    The idea of the Mail Service Center sending out anything is scary. It is standard practice that if you have real important paperwork to send out you do not use the mail service. There is a really high error rate and no one cares. That would be one hugh savings-eliminate the mail service center. But that is another story.

  • The Fox Jan 30, 2009

    [Other than a few scheduled times for maintenance, yes, current and past paychecks are accessible from any computer.] Sorry to disagree but you can only access Beacon from your dept's computers. It won't work from your home P.C.

    By the way Beacon is nothing wait until the rest of the State starts using the German software SAP like the DOT. Alot more trouble and it cost a lot more than Beacon too!

  • personality Jan 30, 2009

    Does anyone know the most amazing part of the whole Beacon discussion?

    How many companies around the world pay thier employees correctly each week, 2 weeks, or monthly without a problem?

    Hewlett Packard

    The State of NC has trouble just getting the employees of this State paid correctly.........That is just beyond belief if you consider all the other payroll systems from all these other companies who have more employees than NC from around the world and they get paid as they should.

  • kricketbleu Jan 30, 2009

    Wow! Is this the ONLY thing in State Government that needs fixing? Just more wasted money spent on the "unecessary." Typical spending habits for the State..wasteful. State leaders need to take and long hard look at ALL State Agencies and really see the waste...especially unecessary newly created Positions! Been there..seen it happen!

  • JET1234 Jan 30, 2009

    Beacon is in no way fixed. I was paid $1800 MORE last month, and the fabulous beacon employees tried to tell me I had to pay back $3500 because money had gone into witholding also (but I would get this back when I filed taxes) Needless to say, I paid back $1800 after much anguish on my part. Completely ruined my christmas thinking I would be overdrawn by the new year, default on my mortgage, and lose everything I have worked for. This month I finally had a correct paycheck, but vacation and sick time is still off. Two people in our agency were paid too much this month. One lady didn't get a paycheck. One guy had completely messed up vacation, sick etc. BUT, it's fixed. And I'm the Queen of Sheba. :)

  • stateworker Jan 30, 2009

    WRAL needs to do more investagating on the BEACON payroll system. The last I heard this system has cost the State of NC over $100 million !!! They have to keep bringing in programers to try and correct issues and then it causes something else to go whacky. BEACON IS NOT FIXED !!!

  • PeaceOut2017 Jan 30, 2009

    Like I care