MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The glitch that delayed payment to thousands of WVU employees and more than 11,000 bank accounts using direct deposit has been addressed, West Virginia University’s vice president for strategic initiatives confirmed Monday.
“Everybody’s check had made it through and showed up by about 8:30 [Monday] morning,” Rob Alsop said Monday on MetroNews “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval. “I’m not aware of any situations — I haven’t had a scramble of employees or any feedback to me that indicated we still had a problem. And certainly, I know, a lot of the larger banks where we had a number of employees — those deposits actually started showing up as pending over the weekend.”
The exact error that led to the crisis on Black Friday has not been identified, but Alsop said university officials are working to identify the problem and ensure it doesn’t occur again.
“Even if there was one glitch somewhere in the system, we ought to have a system in place to where when that happens — because there is always going to be a computer or a human error — that we have a fail safe that fixes that,” Alsop said.
Alsop said the unidentified error occurring on a traditionally long holiday weekend added fuel to an already volatile situation.
“We had a perfect storm,” he said. “We had a couple of different things happen on Friday that took a couple of hours to sort of figure out. One got resolved quickly. The other took a little bit more time to get re-processed, and then there federal guidelines and deadlines that have to be met for Friday.”
Over the course of the weekend, Alsop said employees began seeing those deposits trickle in.
“That meant it be would be an over-the-weekend or Monday deposit.”
More than 75 percent of the 15,000 accounts — including Alsop’s — were affected by the problem. Despite the ongoing nature of the investigation into the error, Alsop said it didn’t take long to recognize something had occurred.
“I actually woke up Friday morning and checked my bank account and realized I didn’t have a pending deposit,” he said. “I e-mailed our CFO and said, ‘Hey what’s going on here?’ And within the next five to ten minutes, I literally had a couple of calls from other folks around the University saying something’s wrong here.”
Alsop said the University created a short-term fund to address any employees who live paycheck-to-paycheck and were relying on Friday’s paycheck for basic living expenses.
“We actually withdrew an amount of cash on Friday afternoon,” he said. “And for those employees who called in and said, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m not going to be able make it through the weekend. I had X planned or Y planned or I had this situation occur. I need something,’ we were able to help some of those employees. It was a limited number of employees who were in that situation.”
Alsop wasn’t prepared to comment specifically on what type of error had occurred, but said that the University must be the ultimate arbiter of accountability in dealing with Friday’s paycheck problem.
“We are the ones who are responsible, ultimately and including me, for getting and making sure the payroll process works and gets paid,” Alsop said. “At some point in time, whether there was a process that didn’t work at some point or didn’t happen, we’re investigating and working through that now.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) November 27, 2017