01/11/13 — County returns to last payroll system

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County returns to last payroll system

By Steve Herring
Published in News on January 11, 2013 1:46 PM

After months of public angst and at times pointed discussion, and a near uprising by the county's emergency responders over the county's payroll system, Wayne County commissioners this week decided to return to the old system.

The decision came after a closed session during Tuesday's meeting.

Following the closed session, the board returned to its meeting room just long enough for County Manager Lee Smith to read his recommendation and for a vote by commissioners, who then adjourned without comment.

"I am recommending as county manager that effective Jan. 1, 2013, that the county payroll system be generated by the original payroll system better known as GEMS or MSGovern," Smith said. "It is further recommended that all payroll and employee data be entered manually into the GEM system prior to the January pay date by the appropriate departments."

Commissioner John Bell's motion to accept the recommendation and to terminate the county's contract with its current provider, Ceridian, for payroll services was approved unanimously without discussion.

Smith said he had consulted with a number of department heads before coming up with the recommendation. The group unanimously recommended to commissioners "to serve appropriate notice with Ceridian" to end the contractual relationship between the county and Ceridian as soon as possible, Smith said.

The decision was tied to the first day of the year, Smith said, to have a "clean year" for 2013 for the employees.

The issue was not listed on Tuesday's agenda, but was added to unfinished business by Chairman Steve Keen during the agenda briefing session.

The closed session was held at the nearby Wayne County Development Alliance office and included a presentation by alliance officials.

"We need some answers in closed session before I am ready to vote on it," Commissioner Bill Pate said. The session lasted several hours.

Commissioner Wayne Aycock agreed with Pate and said he had been "caught off guard" when he received Smith's recommendation.

"I would like to have a work session, closed session," Mayo said. "I have a lot of questions because if the system is not working is the reason we are going back to GEMS, I'd like to know what those reasons are."

Mayo said the board had seen a "lot of things on the surface" about the payroll issue.

"But my question is, was this system even credible for us to buy to start with?" he said. "Plus I would like to know what we have to do maybe from a legal standpoint to get out of this agreement with Ceridian. So I have a lot of questions that I agree we need to have in closed session."