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County conisders pros and cons of payroll switch

December 29, 1998|By SCOTT BUTKI

Switching the Washington County payroll from weekly to every other week would save the county a few thousand dollars but also would disturb some employees, county officials said Tuesday.

Two Washington County Commissioners asked county staff to explore the benefits and consequences of the change. But Human Resources Director Alan Davis said the switch would not be popular with employees.

"We feel that the savings do not justify the disruption it causes to the employees and the employees' families," Davis said.

"The employees would be terribly upset and would be frustrated. I would be hesitant to recommend it," he said.

The county has paid its workers weekly for at least 20 years, Davis said. The county has about 600 full-time employees and 200 part-time employees, he said.

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If a change were made, county officials recommend the switch be delayed until after new accounting and payroll software is purchased and implemented late next year, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

The issue came up briefly during the Dec. 15 County Commissioners meeting. Commissioner Paul L. Swartz asked Commissioner William Wivell, an accountant, if he thought the county could save money by switching the frequency of paycheck distribution.

They said it deserved some investigation.

The switch would be likely to save "a couple thousand dollars" at most, Washington County Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said.

Bastian, who did not have more specific numbers available Tuesday, said such a change had been discussed a few years ago.

The county would save money by distributing fewer pay stubs and envelopes, Bastian said.

The commissioners would need to weigh savings vs. the opinions of county employees, said Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook. "Until the commissioners formally discuss it, it is not a big issue for me," he said.

Swartz said that of the five commissioners, only Snook is not new to the job. At this stage, they are looking for ways the county can save money, he said.

"It was just a question I had in my mind. I certainly did not want to get the county employees upset about me," Swartz said.

Commissioner Bert I. Iseminger said that even if the savings were only a few thousand dollars, the commissioners should explore the idea further.

"We ought to give it a serious look," said Commissioner John L. Schnebly.

Wivell said Monday he would want to know if there was significant savings before deciding whether he would support the change. He could not be reached Tuesday afternoon to respond to Bastian's comment.

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