Merging School Payrolls Leaves Employees without Paychecks

Merging School Payrolls Leaves Employees without Paychecks

More than 5,000 Shelby County school employees face a month without a paycheck while the accounting systems of the two districts are merged.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - More than 5,000 Shelby County school employees face a month without a paycheck while the accounting systems of the two districts are merged.

But when the man in charge of both districts admitted it's a major screw up, his public relations team tried to shut him and the media down.

Thursday night, thousands of employees received an email that said they'd have to make a decision in about two weeks whether to stretch out their July paycheck or go without pay until August 16th.

Shelby County school employees are outraged, and so are some Shelby County Commissioners.

"This is not the board's fault, this is our fault. This is an administrative decision and the process of making decisions by administrators have been flawed for a while," stated Interim Superintendent Dorsey Hopson. "Look, I'm superintendent right now and this falls on me and I'm taking responsibility for it."

Hopson even admits the notice isn't enough for most of the workers as they try to manage their budgets. He says the IT Department just told him last week, and now the district is scrambling to figure something out before the July 1st payroll.

"Paying people in advance, it's just not best practice, so that's what precipitated the necessity to have to change or to harmonize the pay schedule," Hopson explained.

During an unusual news conference Friday, Hopson did his best to try and explain the situation, but his press people tried to tell news cameras to stop rolling, and get the superintendent to stop talking.

Shelby County Commissioner Heidi Shafer is not happy with how the Unified School District is doing business.

"I think it's absolutely wrong to build this consolidated school on the backs of the teachers," she said.

Hopson's PR staff standing behind the cameras gave him the "cut" sign to stop talking and tried to get the media to stop recording. It broke down into a big mess, just like the payroll situation.

The district is giving the affected workers the following options: do nothing and not get paid for a month, take three small paychecks over the next month, or use their vacation time to get paid.

Whatever the worker decides, they have to tell the district by the 26th. If they don't say what they want to do, they won't get a paycheck.

Hopson says he and his staff will be working over the weekend to try and come up with some better options.

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