Post-Bankruptcy Detroit Hasn't A Clue How Much Comp Time It Owes Employees

'Antiquated' payroll system's update two years overdue

The Detroit News has reported that "glitches" left about 1,600 Detroit city employees without a paycheck in the first week of August. The city had 8,588 employees as of its last audited statement in June 2015.

A city spokesman said that the problem was caused by an antiquated payroll system, according to The Detroit News. The city stated an upgrade would be implemented by fiscal year 2017.

ForTheRecord says: This is a bad sign for anyone who hoped for improved stewardship from Detroit officials following the city's emergence from bankruptcy in 2014, assisted by a state taxpayer bailout.

In 2012, Detroit and the state Treasury department agreed that the city needed to upgrade its payroll system.

According to bankruptcy-related filings by the city in June 2013, Detroit contracted with a vendor to transition to a modern payroll system with the work to be completed in March 2014.

Two years after that deadline passed and more than four years after the city and state agreed that the city needed to modernize, the last word from Detroit is "wait until next year."

The outdated payroll system's most recent round of public scrutiny began when the media broke stories in 2015 documenting overtime abuses in the police department

Additionally, Detroit revealed in January that it has failed to compile the amount of compensatory time due to employees over the course of their careers. Reportedly, the information exists only for the most recent year (2015). The city estimates it would cost $100,000 and take 10,000 employee hours to track how much comp time employees have accumulated.

Compensatory time is the extra time off a city gives it employees who work extra hours but don’t take overtime pay. Employees can bank these hours over many years and cash them in at retirement. This unknown number of hours is potentially an unfunded liability whose magnitude is also unknown.