Payroll glitch hit Detroit cops with payless Friday

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit – – About 1,600 Detroit employees, including police officers, either did not get paid Friday or had money accidentally deducted from their paychecks due to city payroll glitches.

The problems impacted about 18 percent of the city’s 9,000 employees but Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration was working on distributing actual checks to workers late Friday, city spokesman Dan Austin said.

About 275 workers, mostly police personnel, who have accounts at Bank of America, did not receive paychecks directly deposited into their accounts.

“They’re pissed,” Detroit Police Officers Association President Mark Diaz wrote in a text message. “Whenever a person’s check doesn’t come on time, it presents a problem.”

The checks won’t reach workers until Monday, however, unless the employee works for a department that is open Saturdays and Sundays, such as the police and transportation departments, Austin said.

The city’s emergence from a landmark 2013 bankruptcy was supposed to help fix problems with a 40-year-old payroll system.

The city’s auditing firm recommended installing time clocks in most city buildings, including police command centers – a recommendation that rankled officers earlier this year.

Austin said Detroit City Council recently approved installing a new city payroll system.

The problem, which still was being investigated, appears to have stemmed from a glitch in the city’s antiquated payroll system wiring money from Detroit’s accounts with Comerica Bank to Bank of America, Austin said.

A second payroll problem involved accidentally deducting money from the paychecks of about 1,300 city workers.

“If you had parking or flexible spending accounts deducted on the first and third week of the month, we accidentally deducted it on the second week as well,” Austin said.

Those employees also were being refunded the money Friday night, Austin added.