City Councilman Allan Domb on Thursday introduced legislation calling on the city controller to “investigate and audit” the city’s OnePhilly payroll software system, which has led to hundreds of reports of incorrect paychecks, tax withholdings, and benefits calculations for city workers since it was launched in March and is the subject of multiple lawsuits against the city by municipal unions.
“I can understand a 60-day, 90-day process to get your act together, but this seems like a lot longer,” Domb said in an interview. “I just don’t understand how it can take so long. We need better oversight.”
Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said she supports the resolution. Her office is already conducting an audit of OnePhilly, as it does for all new financial systems, that will be completed in January.
“We’ve all heard the problems with the OnePhilly system, and I know how upset employees are, and rightfully so,” Rhynhart said.
While a controller’s audit will reveal the financial impact of OnePhilly’s problems, an investigation could dig into deeper issues, such as the process the city used to choose the company that built the software, Ciber Global, and how it has managed the contract. Rhynhart said she first wants to look at the scope of the problem.
“The first step is looking at the magnitude of the problems to see what we’re dealing with, then definitely there should be an evaluation of what went wrong," Rhynhart said.
Launched during former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration, OnePhilly was designed to modernize and merge the city’s antiquated systems for timekeeping, payroll, pensions, and benefits. The $44 million project, however, has been years behind schedule and millions over budget, culminating in this spring’s chaotic rollout of the payroll component.
Domb’s resolution cites a recent Inquirer story revealing that 3,800 employees have been paid for hours they did not work due to errors with the system, and that the city does not yet know how much money it has doled out in overpayments. Many other employees have been shorted money they should have been paid, especially for overtime hours, and some new hires have gone weeks before being paid at all.
“It’s kind of a boondoggle,” Domb said. “The resolution will help us find out the facts.”
Some of the problems are caused by issues with the software, which the city is working with Ciber to resolve, while others are data entry problems caused by city workers adjusting to the new system.
Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration has said it sympathizes with city employees who have had issues with the system and is working as quickly as possible to resolve the issues.