This week, many New Orleans officers were upset to find that, thanks to the new payroll system, instead of getting paid automatically and electronically for the first time, they weren’t getting paid at all. According to the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), it received multiple calls from police officers whose paydays were affected by the new system. In total, the city says that 230 police officers had paycheck mistakes, and 43 did not receive pay at all.
Raymond Burkart III, a representative for the FOP, says that officers “Were furious. They were hurt, and they still are, and they should be.” The city made the switch to a new, automated payroll system in order to replace the outdated paper system which had been in place since 1972. Burkart believes that the city government is trying to fix a system that isn’t broken, and is affecting the lives of dedicated policemen in the process. “This is simply a lack of respect for our officers by the administration,” he adds.
Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Koppin says that, while the mistake was unfortunate, the upgrade was absolutely necessary in the grand scheme of things. “We had a near miss about a year ago that put at risk the paychecks of the 4,000 employees that the city has,” he said, and added that with any new system, hiccups were likely to occur, and the city was working as quickly as possible to address the problem.
To help affected officers through the interim, the city is issuing cash-loaded debit cards so that they will not experience any trouble paying their bills. Overall, the city says that the transition from old system to new has been successful, and will enable the city to have a better, more accurate payment system for the future. Kopplin contends that many of the issues weren’t caused by any problem with the technology, but rather by human error as people adjust to the new system.