RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - The City of Reno is getting ready to launch a new automated payroll system at a cost of about $1.5 million. City officials insist it is money well spent and they say it will streamline the payroll process, but is the city being forthcoming about how your tax dollars are being spent?
Reno's Budget Manager Kate Thomas says the new automated payroll system will pay off in the long run even if its rough going right now. “With any new system you're going to have some hiccups,” Thomas told News 4.
One of those hiccups involves a contract that was not approved as required by the Reno City Council. The council did approve a deal to pay ADP $1.1 million to provide a new automated payroll system for the city's 1,500 employees. News 4 has learned the city has also paid out $218,000 to a company called Aerotek to manage the payroll project until it comes on line, that contract was not approved by the council until after it News 4 brought it up and after the money had already been spent. That's a violation of city code.
City code says any payment of more than $50,000 needs to first be approved by the council. Thomas told News 4, “When you find a policy that was overlooked that's a concern.” She called the Aerotek mistake a simple oversight, but with the project now more than two months behind schedule we wanted to know how the test or trial runs of the new system have fared.
News 4 asked for the numbers but we were told in an email from Thomas, "there are no numbers per se.. it's either absolutely right or it's not." We wonderred how there could not be any numbers for a payroll system that needs to crank-out $3.5 million dollars in city paychecks every payroll period? We kept asking. In fact we had to ask three times before the city finally admitted they do have the numbers. In the first test run the new automated payroll system was under by $108,000. In the second trial run the system was over by $48,000. In the most recent trial run ADP was over again, this time by $1,200.
City officials insist they are working out the discrepancies and hope to launch the new system this week. Why were we first told there were no numbers from those test runs? Thomas told News 4, “I didn't know there were any numbers, that's all up to ADP. They just tell us when its ready… We were glad you asked because that helps us tune-up the process. Its a learning process every time you implement a project.”
Thomas insists the city has nothing to hide despite that contract that was paid out in violation of their own policy and the initial denials that any test run numbers actually existed. She maintains at a cost of 1.5 million dollars this new system is a good investment.
We should know September 10th as the city decides whether they are ready to go live with the ADP system or whether more fine-tuning is needed.