Brown County seeks state’s help to resolve payroll issues
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) – A county in northern South Dakota has enlisted the state Department of Legislative Audit to help resolve problems with its payroll and benefits system that have resulted in more than $9,000 in penalties over the past month.
Brown County Commission Chairman Doug Fjeldheim told the Aberdeen American News that the county had to pay fees to the Internal Revenue Service and the South Dakota Retirement System for late payments and missing payroll reports. He said it’s unclear what went wrong.
Commissioners approved the payment of more than $4,100 in late fees to the retirement system earlier this month, and another penalty payment has been approved since.
“Basically, what it all stems from is we’re trying to outsource our payroll, but the issues started a little before that,” Fjeldheim said.
The county approved a contract last summer with RAM Housing Specialists, Inc. to handle its payroll. The contract outlined that the county would pay RAM about $10,226 for the first two years of providing services such as biweekly payroll, quarterly reports, state unemployment reports, tax deposits and annual W-2s, according to Gary Vetter, county human resources director.
“Our intent was to save about $25,000 by outsourcing our payroll, now we’re not going to save as much with these penalties,” Fjeldheim said.
He said the issues resulted in some workers not receiving sick leave or vacation, as well as lack of reporting. But Fjeldheim said the county has since sorted out the issues, and the same problems shouldn’t persist in the next pay period.
The county is seeking the state’s help to determine who is responsible for the problems.
“It is taxpayers’ dollars and we want to be transparent about this,” Fjeldheim said.