Council Payroll Problems

Sharona Morgan, a D.C. Council employee for 15 years, said she was taken aback this month when the her government check was withdrawn from her checking account.
Morgan, director of constituent services for council member Carol Schwartz (R-At-Large) for almost 12 years, submitted her resignation on Dec. 29 and left the job the same day. She started as director of constituent services for David A. Catania (I-At Large) on Jan. 22.
According to a letter from a Chevy Chase Bank official, Morgan's $1,916.15 payroll check was deposited directly into her account on Jan. 12, 2007. Four days later the payment was reversed.
Morgan said the council's personnel office had told her that she was paid for an extra week that she did not work, and would be immediately reissued a check for the time she worked during that pay period. Morgan said she was not given a letter explaining the process.
Two weeks later, Morgan said she feels like she doesn't have any recourse to ensure that she is paid for the hours she worked. Morgan contacted the D.C. Department of Employment Services Wage-Hour Office, but was told it doesn't handle District government employees disputes. They must go to their union or the council's personnel and payroll offices.
Morgan, who does not belong to a union, said she has worked for two former council members -- Wilhelmina Rolark and Bill Lightfoot. When she previously left a job, the government never deducted money from her account, she said.
Schwartz's office declined to comment on Morgan's payroll issue because it is a personnel matter.
"I don't know how this happened but I've never had any problems in the past, even through furloughs, I've always received my money" Morgan said. "I resent being late on my mortgage and possibly causing damage to my credit report."
Council officials familiar with Morgan's complaint said that the city had no recourse but to stop payment on the payroll check. The officials who also would not speak on the record because it is a personnel issue, said Morgan will be paid during the next payroll cycle.
"People are paid for the hours worked and when a check is issued for an overpayment then we retrieve the check and a new one is reissued," an official said.
Morgan said the delay is getting her paycheck is an unfair penalty for quitting a job.
"I'm upset because I didn't get paid for a week I worked for," she said. "They offset my bank account and caused trauma. I feel it was unnecessary."

-- Reported by Yolanda Woodlee

By David Nakamura |  January 31, 2007; 8:00 AM ET
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Payroll problems in DC governement, get in line!

Posted by: oknow101 | January 31, 2007 10:58 AM

Not sure this is worthy article to be on the list - appears a special case situation and not reflective of the article title.

Posted by: jorgense | January 31, 2007 12:15 PM

I just saw an article about a former city employee in Cincinnati who stopped going to work 10 years ago, but kept getting paid, and was only discovered when she wrote to City Council complaining that her lump sum annual leave payment when she finally retired should have been more. Makes us in DC look like rank amateurs.

Posted by: rblessin88 | February 1, 2007 11:13 AM

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