Computer pays workers twice : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

LOCAL NEWS TODAY  March 30, 2000

Late Y2K glitch: New computer pays some workers twice Julie B. Hairston - Staff Thursday, March 30, 2000

Government employees are sometimes accused of getting paid for doing nothing.

The claim fits about 45 city of Atlanta employees.

The employees, mostly civilian workers in the Police Department, were paid twice because of a glitch in a new computer system installed for Y2K.

In all, the city's payroll system sent out about $67,000 in money that it didn't owe, thanks to bugs in the brand new computer system that controls the city's check writing.

A handful of city retirees recently received about $6,500 worth of payroll checks from City Hall, in addition to their pension checks.

City officials explained that the new payroll system, activated last November as part of Atlanta's Y2K compliance effort, works differently from the old system.

The old system, said acting Chief Financial Officer Judith Blackwell, only issued checks when asked to do so. The new system, she said, sends out checks until told to stop.

Apparently, in the case of some employees, nobody said stop.

Now, in addition to making sure the mistakes are not repeated, the city's finance department must recover the money it didn't mean to pay.

Deputy CFO Dominic Ochei told members of the City Council's finance committee that city officials plan to work with the recipients of the unplanned largesse, many of whom wasted no time in putting the extra money to use.

About $57,000 remains unrepaid, according to Ochei.

After sending out an official notice, Ochei said, the city would work out an installment plan with individuals for repayment.

Meanwhile, Blackwell said work is continuing on the new payroll system to avoid any future problems.

"It requires some program adjustments," Blackwell said. "It needs a lot of program adjustments."

The council members were not amused.

"This should have been taken care of by now," said Councilwoman Cathy Woolard.

"We're still working on what our Y2K plan was."

-- - (, March 30, 2000

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