Brief: D.C. Payroll System Flounders

The district government of Washington, D.C., last week said it has been forced to scrap a US$20 million citywide payroll system that wasn't working properly.

Under development since 1991 and only operational for one year, the payroll system developed by Boston contractor Business Software Associates was faulted with issuing incorrect checks or none at all to D.C. employees. The district, which had switched half of its 43,000 employees to the new system, will revert to an older one at a cost of about $5 million.

D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi last week acknowledged the problem isn't only in the software, but also the Byzantine rules surrounding the government's 280 pay schedules for different union work rules.

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