Philadelphia Police Union to Sue City Over Payroll Software

OnePhilly was designed to replace the city’s antiquated timekeeping, payroll, pension and benefits systems with one linked platform. The launch the software in March, however, caused problems for workers across the city.

by Sean Collins Walsh, The Philadelphia Inquirer / September 17, 2019
Philadelphia City Hall Shutterstock/AnLuNi

(TNS) — The Philadelphia police union is planning to sue the city over problems with a new payroll software system that has led to widespread complaints from municipal employees about incorrect paychecks, vacation accruals and tax deductions, the union announced Monday.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, which represents the city’s 6,000 cops, posted on Twitter a letter from its president, John McNesby, saying the union “will be going into court seeking immediate relief.”

“Failure to pay, incorrect payments and incorrect taxes deducted are now chronic payments which the City is either unwilling or unable to remedy,” McNesby wrote in the letter. “Numerous meetings have been held with no resolution to the situation.”

A police union spokesman declined to say when it planned to sue the city and what it will be seeking.

A $40 million information technology project begun during former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration, OnePhilly was designed to replace the city’s antiquated timekeeping, payroll, pension, and benefits systems with one linked platform. The launch of its payroll software in March, however, caused immediate problems for workers across city agencies, including some employees receiving $0 checks despite working. Many of the problems involve missing overtime pay.

Months later, a remedy for the software’s problems has proven elusive.

Mike Dunn, a spokesman for Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration, said the city apologizes to workers impacted by the software problems and thanked them for “their patience and understanding as we work through the sorts of issues experienced with any new technology.”

”Since implementing the system we have had several meetings with the municipal worker unions to hear and address their concerns. In addition, we instituted a help line for any affected employee to report issues, and we increased training of departmental HR representatives," Dunn said in a statement Monday. “We understand the FOP’s frustration; they have our assurances that we will not rest until all these issues are resolved.”

The new software handles payroll and benefits for all employees in the city’s executive-branch agencies.

Other municipal unions flirted with suing the city over the system earlier this year but backed off.

Fred Wright, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ District Council 47, the city’s white-collar union, said Monday that his union is not presently considering a lawsuit.

“We’re still trying to work it out,” Wright said. “The different locals have been working with the administration to try to work out the different bugs in the system.”

The situation has not improved, Wright said. In addition to inaccurate paychecks, members of his union have been reporting that their vacation usage and accruals are not being properly recorded, he said.

Members of AFSCME’s DC 33, the blue-collar union, have seen improvements in recent weeks, according to Pete Matthews, the union’s president.

“We’ve come a long way to get these problems resolved,” Matthews said. “We’ve seen a tremendous change over the past couple months. We want to get this done because our members are being patient, but you got to pay people.”

A DC 33 committee meets with the city weekly, Matthews said. His union is not planning to sue the city.

“They admitted that the problem is their problem. They made the mistake,” Matthews said. “It’s not like the city is fighting us on this.”

©2019 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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