County OKs additional staff hours, prepares for recount
Changes in how the county does its payroll will require more staff time upfront, but are expected to be a longterm savings.
The county is in the process of no longer using its AS400 mainframe for its financial systems including payroll due to the ongoing expense of keeping it running. The conversion process has been a lengthy one with the goal to have it completed by January 1.
At last week’s personnel committee meeting, members approved increasing the work week hours for payroll and benefi ts specialist Jackie Peterson from 35 to 40 hours from Oct. 26 to April 1. The total cost is estimated at $2,900.
According to human resource director Marie Koerner, the additional hours are required because Peterson has had to do a lot of setting up of the system and will be the point person in training all county employees on it. Once it is fully operational, employees will enter their own time sheet information from devices rather than it all going to a central point to be keyed in. This will reduce duplication of work and save time in the future.
For now, though there is a lot of legwork needed to make this happen. Finance director Larry Brandl said their plan is to do it on both systems for payroll in December as a test of the new programs before going live with it in January.
Committee members approved the additional hours. In other action, committee members approved authorizing county clerk Andria Farrand to hire additional workers as needed if a presidential recount is requested.
Farrand estimated needing 12 to 16 people to do the recount. In 2016, the recount required nine people, but with the restrictions due to COVID-19 and high volume, they felt the increased staff was necessary especially given the very short window they would have to recount the ballots. If needed the individuals would be paid $20 per hour.
Under state law passed in 2017 under Gov. Scott Walker, the recount rules were changed. Under the rules the party asking for the recount must pay upfront the estimated cost of it. Statewide this was estimated at being about $7.9 million.
“We just have to go through the process, said committee member Scott Mildbrand, noting the importance of elections and the need to make sure they are accurate.