System Integration to Help Brown County, S.D., Avoid Fees

A county in South Dakota has discovered one weird trick to avoid fees and penalties — make systems talk to each other so that payments are made on time and the government doesn't incur fees.

by Shannon Marvel, American News / November 14, 2018

(TNS) — Integrating and automating the payroll and benefits systems should mean Brown County, S.D., will avoid paying late fees and penalties in the future.

That was the main takeaway Russ Olson, with the South Dakota Department of Legislative Audit, discussed with commissioners during Tuesday’s county meeting at the courthouse.

Commissioners enlisted the help of the department to resolve problems that have cost the county more than $9,000 in fees and penalties.

Olson said there were three primary instances the department looked into:

  • The first was a penalty of $686 for a late remittance to the U.S. Department of Treasury, which Olson said was the result of a payment error by the auditor’s office.
  • The other two were late fees assessed to the county for failing to make payments to the state retirement system on time.

The first payment was $4,193 and the second was $4,525, according to meeting minutes.

The county was penalized for making one payment two days past the Aug. 15 deadline. Then it was assessed a late fee for failing to make a payment to the retirement system in September.

Olson said the retirement system penalties were no one’s fault, per se, but rather could be attributed to how payroll data was being manually transmitted between systems. The other factor, he said, was a lack of training provided to a new human resources employee who was charged with managing the payroll and benefits systems.

“They probably didn’t know the significance of being late. I don’t know how well that was communicated in the training process,” Olson said.

Chief Information Officer Paul Sivertsen said the county is already in the process of integrating the payroll and benefits systems. Once all the interfaces are complete, the process will be fully automated. That should eliminate human error.

©2018 the American News (Aberdeen, S.D.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.