Comptroller: state payroll system antiquated

From Illinois News Network

A new payroll system should be in place next year that will help Illinois’ Comptroller have better payroll control and better determine who is essential and nonessential but right now the systems are antiquated and things are still legally ambiguous.

Into the weekend, just days after the beginning of a new fiscal year with no budget in place, Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger pleaded that Attorney General Lisa Madigan obtain a court order to allow for full payment to state employees.

Munger says more than 200 old payroll systems would make it far too impractical to do several different kinds of calculations to pay the federal minimum wage to essential employees.

“It is difficult to make changes to them, they have to be manually overridden, we would have to go in and reduce pay to minimum wage. We would be behind on benefit accrual, pension accrual, etcetera, to go back later and try to catch that up it would be a logistical nightmare if it’s even possible.”

In an opinion last week Madigan also said that only workers who could be paid would be the non-exempt employees, or the clerical, blue collar and first responders. That’s something Munger says would be quote “not possible to do in a short term basis.”

Munger says an updated system will help in the future if there’s another financial crisis like is currently playing out in Illinois where it’s day six of the current fiscal year with no balanced budget in place.

The Republican Comptroller says her office is in the process of implementing a new statewide payroll system to replace the decades-old systems being used across the dozens of state agencies.

“And next year at this time if we face a similar circumstance we will be in a position to identify essential employees and to make some of these changes more easily complying with the federal laws. But the past number of years nothing was done on any of the state systems. Employees were not identified as essential or not.”

The Attorney General filed for the courts to clarify which employees get paid and how much they receive. The AFSCME union filed a lawsuit demanding the court order full pay to employees as it did in a similar situation back in 2007.

State workers are to be paid by July 15.

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