Augusta weighs human resources options

Revamp or ADP called necessary

Thursday, March 8, 2012 10:00 PM
Last updated 11:54 PM
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Augusta is at a human resources crossroads – either rebuild an inadequate city department or relinquish its tasks to global outsourcing giant Automatic Data Processing, which has a local call center.

According to information provided at a recent city work session, outsourcing payroll, leave and other benefits administration to ADP will cost Augusta about $1.4 million annually.

The cost doesn’t include about $1 million in one-time implementation charges, or additional fees that ADP charges when work exceeds established volume levels, Deputy City Administrator Bill Shanahan said.

In 2011, the city spent about $1.6 million on payroll and other human resources services.

Shanahan and ADP officials agree that the department is understaffed and ill-equipped to handle the city’s human resources needs.

“If we don’t use ADP, we cannot leave HR as it currently is,” Shanahan said, adding that when he first visited the office last year, it lacked standard operating procedures.

ADP Vice President Colette Hughes, who manages the company’s Augusta call center, said employees in the human resources department who might be displaced would probably be provided a “private job fair” to see if they might be hired by the company.

Shanahan said the department now has eight employees but needs about 15 to be functional.

At Thursday’s work session, Randy Welch, the government and education district sales manager for ADP, slammed the city’s antiquated paper filing system, adding that ADP would store all employee files on secured computer servers, permitting several employees to access them at once.

During a tour of city departments, the first timecard he saw – at the landfill – was calculated incorrectly, Welch said.

Under ADP’s proposal, city employees calling about their city benefits plans would be handled by ADP’s Augusta call center, Welch told four Augusta Com­mission members at the work session.

Shanahan, however, said he has found complaints of ADP’s performance handling the University System of Georgia’s payroll.

Unnamed university officials told the deputy
administrator they “would not do it again if we could start the process over, due to the current amount of bugs and issues with ADP,” he said.

An Augusta interoffice memo obtained by The Chronicle last month detailed additional difficulties the city has had with ADP, which already handles some human resources tasks.

The problems include inadvertently dropped plans, employee confusion and distrust, and even “combative” ADP staffers, according to the memo.

Sixty million employees, including those of 1,631 local governments, are paid through ADP every year, but “we can’t make everybody happy all the time,” said John Joaquim, ADP’s public sector sales manager.

Joaquim said the situation with the University System was different from the arrangement ADP is seeking with Augusta because ADP and the system opened a shared services center in Sandersville.

Augusta’s work would be handled directly by ADP service centers “using a different work model,” he said.

The ADP Augusta Solu­tions Center on Flowing Wells Road has 800 employees and is growing, Hughes said.

She detailed the community outreach, grants and events the center has implemented since opening in 2008.

The center has 50 “solutions teams” that handle various aspects of payroll and human resources, allowing it to take on some, but not all, of the Augusta functions that would be outsourced, she said.

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gp2905
0
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gp2905 03/09/12 - 08:01 am
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Just what we need - another

Just what we need - another automated system to give us the run around. Try getting the payroll system working for everyone before jumping into this.

bigclaude
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bigclaude 03/09/12 - 08:28 am
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As a University System

As a University System employee I can assure you that ADP's handling of the Payroll functions has been a disaster! Just look at the comment from the public sector sales manager, "We can't make everybody happy all the time."

Your company cost the taxpayers of Georgia $22 million dollars due to your poor handling of the business functions for the University System and that's all you can say??

Proceed with extreme caution before entering into any contract with ADP!!

Little Lamb
47994
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Little Lamb 03/09/12 - 08:59 am
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There are several troubling

There are several troubling aspects in the story up above. The first one is this:

“If we don’t use ADP, we cannot leave HR as it currently is,” Deputy City Administrator Bill Shanahan said, adding that when he first visited the office last year, it lacked standard operating procedures.

Bill, you must do more than just visit your departments; you must also manage them. Don't take the “What, me worry?” style of your boss. If Human Resources does not have standard operating procedures, then call the supervisors together and set up an action plan for them to write them. Then you need to review them, modify them, and approve them. Then you need to follow up and be sure your employees are implementing the procedures as written. It's called management, and Fred Russell has no clue how it's done.

Little Lamb
47994
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Little Lamb 03/09/12 - 09:08 am
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Here are the financial

Here are the financial details provided in the story:

According to information provided at a recent city work session, outsourcing payroll, leave and other benefits administration to ADP will cost Augusta about $1.4 million annually. . . . In 2011, the city spent about $1.6 million on payroll and other human resources services. . . . Shanahan and ADP officials agree that the department is understaffed and ill-equipped to handle the city’s human resources needs. . . . Shanahan said the department now has eight employees but needs about 15 to be functional.

Okay, if the city needs to double the number of city employees, that will practically double the cost of running the department. Right now the department costs $1.6 million a year. I'll be kind and say that adding the seven new employees will result in a Human Resources Department cost of $3 million a year. ADP will do it for $1.4 million a year. Sounds like a no brainer to me. Bring in ADP.

Little Lamb
47994
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Little Lamb 03/09/12 - 09:14 am
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BigClaude has a warning from

BigClaude has a warning from experience about ADP's performance. But we do not need to worry. Rep. Quincy Murphy is pushing a bill through the legislature that will require companies such as ADP with large contracts from the city to undergo periodic forensic audits. That will solve all our problems.

Right.

Here's the link to the story.

Little Lamb
47994
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Little Lamb 03/09/12 - 09:18 am
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This is a hoot: An Augusta

This is a hoot:

An Augusta interoffice memo obtained by The Chronicle last month detailed additional difficulties the city has had with ADP, which already handles some human resources tasks. The problems include . . . employee confusion and distrust . . . according to the memo.

Let me tell you, there was plenty of employee confusion and distrust in Augusta city government long before they brought ADP on the scene. You cannot blame ADP for Augusta employee confusion and distrust.

bigclaude
339
Points
bigclaude 03/09/12 - 09:38 am
0
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Okay, if the city needs to

Okay, if the city needs to double the number of city employees, that will practically double the cost of running the department. Right now the department costs $1.6 million a year. I'll be kind and say that adding the seven new employees will result in a Human Resources Department cost of $3 million a year. ADP will do it for $1.4 million a year. Sounds like a no brainer to me. Bring in ADP.
============================================
You can't take those numbers as the Gospel LL. ADP gave the University System cost projections too, but those projections mean very little when the company is so inefficient. Losing 22 million dollars was not what the Board of Regents sigend up for.

cj52111
29
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cj52111 03/09/12 - 10:16 am
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Utterly ridiculous. The fact

Utterly ridiculous. The fact of the matter is the department needs a strong director to come in and see that the work is done by the individuls in place or have them removed without commission interference. This department is no different from any other that needs clear direction, that will only be found through stable leadership. The majority of outsourced ventures do not work out - corners are cut that remove a personal "in-house" element and quality of service suffers.

Enough80-20
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Enough80-20 03/09/12 - 10:28 am
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The article is inaccurate

The article is inaccurate regarding the numbers. Shanahan's presentation showed that it would cost the City over $2 million per year if ADP was brought in ($1.4 mil under the ADP contract + the cost of having a skeleton HR crew for matters not handled by ADP) or $1.6 million to properly staff HR at 15 people (the current HR budget is just over $1 mil for current staffing)

Granddaddy John
101
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Granddaddy John 03/09/12 - 02:45 pm
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They tell the county
Unpublished

They tell the county employees that one two weeks pay will be 72 hrs and then the next two weeks will be 88 hrs and the taxes will stay the same.What a bunch of crapola,if its not broke don't fix it with ADP.

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