Where’s My Four Cents?

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County Auditor-Controller David Sundstrom this week got grilled on why he’s shorting workers by four cents in their paychecks.

Sundstrom blamed the Fair Labor Standards Act and a software glitch.

The FLSA can be incredibly complicated, mainly when you’re dealing with public safety because they have so many types of regular and overtime pay that calculations get tricky. Public safety officers have sued for things like not getting paid while they get dressed.

And because the county’s new software counts out further on decimal points, its totals tend to be off from the old paycheck amounts by four cents each week. Sometimes, the worker is up. Sometimes, he or she is down.

But Sundstrom said it evens out. And, more important, it’s too expensive to fix.

That answer didn’t satisfy County Supervisor Bill Campbell at this week’s Board of Supervisors meeting. From the dais, Campbell asked how an auditor can be comfortable being off by a few pennies each pay period, especially when you’re processing more than 20,000 paychecks.

He also wanted to know why the vendor, CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc., isn’t making it accurate since they warranted that their software would work.

Sundstrom told Campbell that the CGI software is actually more accurate because it goes out to six decimal points instead of the former software, which only went out four decimal points.

That means the new software is actually more in compliance with the FLSA than before. It also leaves the possibility that the county was overpaying people by four cents in previous years.

By the end, Sundstrom — who was miffed at Campbell’s questioning — offered him another solution.

“If you like, I can keep a roll of pennies in my drawer and pass it out.”



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