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Computer woes tie up W-2 forms

February 01, 2001

Computer woes tie up W-2 forms



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - About 300 Berkeley County employees are waiting for their W-2 forms for tax purposes as county officials continue to struggle with computer problems.

The county missed the Jan. 31 federal deadline for sending out the forms, which are needed before individuals can fill out their tax returns.

"We'll send them out when we get them done," said County Clerk John Small Thursday afternoon. "If things had been working right we would have sent them out with the Jan. 30 pay."

The county could be penalized for sending the returns after Jan. 31, but Small said he doesn't know what the penalties are. He said he had heard complaints about the late forms from about six employees.

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County Facilities Manager Walt Davis had said earlier in the day that he hoped the problem would be solved Thursday. He said software needed to run the system either was misplaced or not exactly what the county needed.

Davis and other officials said Thursday they believe they are making progress on solving ongoing computer problems that have plagued county offices.

"There has been significant progress in the past few days," Commission President Howard Strauss said during the weekly County Commission meeting Thursday.

"We are making a lot of progress," said Davis, who has been the key figure working with a Morgantown computer company trying to solve computer problems.

Circuit Court Clerk Virginia Sine said she had not been able to scan legal documents into her computer system since Jan. 19. And the computer system was operating only intermittently, she said.

"There have been a lot of problems," she said.

County officials are seeking to back up documents in the system onto other equipment, freeing up room in the system to add more.

Commissioner Robert Burkhart said the problems should not have gotten to this point.

"This stuff should have been known about by the people we contracted with," he said.

Officials with Software Systems Inc. have said problems on the scale of Berkeley County's are unique to their experience in the state. President Michael Manley said some blame lies with local officials, especially Small.

But Small has said the system has not worked since the first day and Commissioner John Wright said Small cannot be blamed for the problems.

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