An administrative error is being blamed for why Fort Worth employees did not get paid as normal on Friday.
Nearly 7,000 employees won't see their regular checks in their accounts until as early as Saturday -- if not as late as Monday.
Inside City Hall, it was business as usual on Friday. But city officials said the usual steps to release the city's payroll to employees were not followed Thursday. City spokesman Bill Begley said the payroll was not authorized as it normally is on the day before payday.
"Once we recognized the fact that the paperwork hadn't been done and that the administrative steps hadn't been taken, we focused on trying to rectify that situation to try to get all the paperwork and processes taken care of as quickly as possible so that our employees get their paychecks that they've earned," he said.
Begley said the checks would not arrive until Saturday or as late as Monday, depending on each employee's bank.
"We can't apologize enough," Begley said. "You know, it was an administrative error. We're sorry that it happened."
Begley said City Manager Tom Higgins could recall one other time when payroll didn't go out as planned. It was sometime in the last 30 years when they still printed checks and the printer broke. Employees got their checks later that afternoon instead of in the morning like normal.
City employees say they don't want to experience this direct deposit snafu again.
"I look at it as something that is totally unacceptable," said Peter Talleos, president of the North Texas Association of Public Employees Local 9527. "This is a major metropolitan city, and they (city administrators) should have made some provisions in case something like this would ever happen. Obviously, they haven't."
Talleos says it was most disturbing to him because of where the error took place.
"This is the new system," he said. "And this new system was supposed to make it more concrete that this would never happen."
For employees living paycheck to paycheck, it is an especially tough break. Talleos said he was helping at least one member of his union to pay rent.
The city is asking employees to double check their accounts before paying any bills. But once the checks arrive, the focus will turn to preventing this from happening again.
"We're going to do a thorough investigation to make sure something like this doesn't happen," Begley said.
All city employees were notified of the error on Friday morning.
The city said the Fort Worth City Credit Union would work with members on a case-by-case basis if the delay results in any issues. The city also said that its treasurer has contacted employee banking institutions to see if they can assist and minimize any impacts from the error.
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