By Jane Smith
Delray Beach has no way of telling if its city employees are accurately reporting their paid time off, Internal Auditor Julia Davidyan reported to city commissioners at their May 17 meeting.
As examples, she said the city had overpaid an employee 240 hours of sick pay and had continued to pay one employee who passed away $2,537.60.
Davidyan blamed the shortcomings on the city’s manual payroll system and said an automated payroll system with a proper audit trail is needed to ensure accurate reporting.
The question now is how soon can the city find the money to pay for a new system, estimated to cost $100,000. Once purchased, it will take six to nine months to put in place for employees to use.
City Manager Terrence Moore told commissioners he would try to find the money in the current year’s budget. He will let them know the “specifics of what needs to be done” in his June 10 letter to them.
Delray Beach has an estimated $65 million annual payroll, said Juli Casale, deputy vice mayor, who asked Davidyan to review the payroll system in August. “We have to be accountable to the taxpayers,” Casale said.
Davidyan reviewed payroll records for the previous budget year that ended Sept. 30.
Davidyan found the majority of the payroll records were processed accurately. But when she pulled 40 employee payroll records, she found internal controls were needed over payroll and paid-time-off processing.
“There’s no way to detect who was responsible” for the overpayments that were made, Mayor Shelly Petrolia said at the meeting. “I can’t understand how that happens.”
For the past two budget years, the city’s former external auditor, Caler, Donten, Levine, Cohen, Porter & Veil, pointed out the deficiencies in the city’s payroll processing system, but the city took no action even though city officials agreed with the external auditor’s recommendations.