Error delays paychecks for Lewiston employees

Posted Aug. 11, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — A computer mistake kept most of the city’s 444 employees from getting their paychecks on time Wednesday morning.

Finance Director Heather Hunter said only city employees using the Lewiston Municipal Credit Union received their direct deposit checks in their accounts on time, at midnight Tuesday.

The problem was fixed by 10 a.m. Wednesday and employees with accounts at large banks such as TD Bank had their accounts credited by 11 a.m.

All other accounts, in smaller banks and credit unions, should see their accounts credited by midnight Wednesday.

Hunter said the city does not issue paper checks, paying all Lewiston employees via direct deposit to their bank accounts. Creating the bank file is a two-step process: One city employee creates the payroll file and prepares it to be sent to the various banks. A second employee checks the file and submits it.

“My understanding is that the person that released it thought he’d gone through all the steps,” Hunter said. “He’s been doing that job forever. But for whatever reason, it did not get released.”

Hunter said she began getting calls from concerned employees at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“We were able to release the batch this morning, after reviewing all of our options, and because we did it before the large banks do their scans, they were able to see the money in their accounts right away,” Hunter said.

Hunter said the error represented a total of 574 transactions for 444 full- and part-time employees. The $243,889.95 payroll was never in doubt, she said.

“It had nothing to do with cash availability on the funds or anything like that,” she said. “All the employees have been notified and if any of them had bounced checks, we will cover the bounced checks.”

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