The head of Philadelphia’s police union on Tuesday called for Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration to shake up the team managing OnePhilly, the faulty payroll software system that has led to hundreds of complaints from city workers about incorrect paychecks and other issues.
“There needs to be better management there. They need to put a better team of people in there. And I believe if they do that, it may work,” John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, told reporters.
McNesby’s comments came a day after he announced the union plans to sue the city over its implementation of OnePhilly, a $40 million information-technology project launched in former Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration. It was designed to replace the city’s antiquated systems for timekeeping, payroll, pensions, and benefits and combine those functions into one platform.
Without naming names, McNesby criticized the March rollout of the payroll portion of OnePhilly, which he said has led to officers having too much tax withheld from their checks, some officers not getting paid at all, and new hires not having union dues deducted while some retirees, who shouldn’t have to pay dues, get charged for them.
“The communication is very minimal and lacking. There’s a lot of things that could be done different," said McNesby, whose union represents the city’s 6,500 cops and its more than 7,000 retired officers. “I’m not asking for anybody’s head. I’m asking for either more people or a better management team or some kind of answers."
The lawsuit will seek reimbursement for the cost of 532 hours that union staff has spent working on problems its members are having with OnePhilly, McNesby said.
Kenney spokesperson Mike Dunn said administration officials “understand the FOP’s frustration" but said the mayor “remains confident the right leadership team is in place to continue implementation of this program.”
“The One Philly team has put in tremendously long hours including nights, weekends and holidays. They have been devoted to correcting these issues and ensuring workers are paid in full and on-time,” Dunn said in a statement. “One Philly replaced multiple, aging IT systems and the complexity is enormous. Some of the issues are systems-based, and the team continues working with the vendor on those matters.”
Other municipal unions flirted with suing the city over the system earlier this year but backed off.
Fred Wright, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ (AFSCME) District Council 47, the city’s white-collar union, said Monday that his union is not presently considering a lawsuit.
“We’re still trying to work it out,” Wright said. “The different locals have been working with the administration to try to work out the different bugs in the system.”
The situation has not improved, Wright said. In addition to inaccurate paychecks, members of his union have been reporting that their vacation usage and accruals are not being properly recorded, he said.
Members of AFSCME’s DC 33, the blue-collar union, have seen improvements in recent weeks, according to Pete Matthews, the union’s president.
“We’ve come a long way to get these problems resolved,” Matthews said. “We’ve seen a tremendous change over the past couple months. We want to get this done because our members are being patient, but you got to pay people.”
A DC 33 committee meets with the city weekly, Matthews said. His union is not planning to sue.