Fort Worth officials are looking to recoup more than $250,000 from former employees who were overpaid because of problems with a new payroll computer system the city switched to about five years ago and human error.
Officials say the news was a “shock” to the employees, and some now face a financial jam.
The bulk of the money, $244,730, was paid to nine firefighters who left the department in 2013 and 2015, according a recent audit report. Of that, $193,921 was overpaid in 2013 and $50,809 in 2015, the report said. No overpayments were recorded in 2014. The audit covers the three years.
The audit also found $6,960 in overpayments to 11 other former general employees. The payments were compensation for unused vacation, holiday and sick leave the workers were allowed when they left the city’s employment. While employed, the firefighters were paid on a 40-hour week, but when they left the department, their pay rate should have been calculated on a 56-hour week, according to policy, the report said.
The audit report said the computer software didn’t create pay lines for the leave payments and needed to be manually set with the correct pay rate. That did not happen in some cases.
Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis said city officials have spoken to the nine firefighters in the last couple of weeks and will begin the process of collecting the money soon. The city will set up payment plans with the employees, she said.