A small number of municipal employees have been placed on payment plans after they received thousands of dollars in extra pay, according to payroll data obtained through a records request.
Overpayments range from $800 to $6,000, data shows.
“Most of these situations were payroll glitches – either the wrong payroll was direct deposited and then spent, or the wrong calculation was made to their pay unbeknownst to the employee,” said business administrator Kathleen Long last week.
Records show four employees were overpaid a total sum of $12,591. Assistant business administrator Jennifer Hirschmanner was overpaid by $3,547. Administrative secretary Aracelly Calero was overpaid by $2,227. Traffic maintenance worker Videlmo Llanos was overpaid by $800. And sanitation inspector Willis Carswell, Jr. was overpaid by $6,015.
Hirschmanner has been repaying the sum since January 26, 2018. She pays $25 every two weeks. Records show the $25 is deducted from the gross amount on her paycheck. She has repaid $3,050. She still owes $497, records dated October 29, 2020 show.
Calero has been paying $25 every pay period since April 5, 2019 to repay the overpayment. Calero has repaid $800. Her remaining balance is $1,427.
Carswell has been seeing a $300 reduction in his gross pay since October 2, 2020. His remaining balance is $5,715.
Llanos has been repaying $200 every pay period since October 2, 2020. His remaining balance is $400.
“There should be a process how it’s calculated,” said council president Flavio Rivera, chairman of the finance committee, referring to the repayment amount. “It seems like we’re having a lot of issues with payroll. You can’t have disparities.”
Rivera agreed small repayment amounts resemble a zero-interest loans at taxpayers’ expense.
Rivera said the administration should devise internal policies that allow for each over-payment situation to be handled with equity.
Carswell and Llanos, both public works employees, earn far less than Calero and Hirschmanner. Yet both employees are making the larger payments every two weeks.
“I can’t speak to the decisions made prior to my term, but for the one that I was involved in, my conversation with the employee was to pay as much as possible so the error will be rectified over a short period of time,” said Long. “I will be reviewing and signing-off on all repayment plans going forward, with this same policy in mind.”
The city provided a repayment agreement document for Calero. But no repayment agreement documents were provided for Hirschmanner, Carswell, and Llanos.
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