Did we see a bolt of lightning and hear a clap of thunder on a clear blue morning this past Tuesday?
Meridian Mayor Percy Bland and his frequent nemesis Ward 5 Councilman Weston Lindemann agreed on a point during a presentation by auditor Paul Breazeale about the city’s antiquated payroll system.
The city needs to modernize its payroll system to save time and reduce the potential for error and fraud. We agree with the auditor, the mayor and the councilman.
The recommendation from Breazeale and company’s 199 page report is for the city to invest in software.
Most organizations are familiar with these programs that allow employers to create schedules, manage time off requests and create reports. Employees, meanwhile, can clock in and out at their desktops or through complementary apps and track their availability of vacation days and sick time.
It takes a little getting used to on both sides, but these tools of the modern world are relatively easy to use.
The mayor points out that currently three employees spend the bulk of their payroll week entering records. That is a waste in a city experiencing financial problems.
Lindemann points out an electronic system would help eliminate fraud, which he argues already has taken place. His review of payroll records led to a state auditor’s office investigation of some city employees, including three Meridian police officers. A judgment is pending.
Council has discussed the purchase of software from ADP in the last month, but action was tabled as has been the case with many discussions that give way to bickering.
Whether it’s with ADP or another vendor, we recommend the council and administration work together to find a solution quickly.
We, also, recommend both the council and administration focus on city business that needs addressing, including discussion of property tax rates, finding money to repair deteriorating roads and parks, fighting real or perceived public safety issues and working together to attract new businesses.
Use the council’s time to work together to work toward compromise and solutions that will move the city forward.
City leaders working together shouldn’t come like a thunderbolt of surprise.