At last, a modern state payroll system to improve services

Posted on Sep 26, 2018 in Featured

The Hawai’i Pay Team worked together to transform the state’s antiquated payroll system into a “best practice,” computer-based operation.

The mountains of paperwork . . . the armies of clerks manually entering salary numbers for every pay period. For the past 50 years, thousands of state employees from every department have depended on an antiquated paper-based process to be paid. The good news: The system has been transformed since Governor Ige made modernizing the core operations of state government one of his top priorities to improve services.

It’s taken a dedicated team of state employees — the Hawai‘i Pay Team — to transform the state’s massive payroll system from a hugely labor-intensive process to a new computer-based, “best practice” operation, using an automated clearinghouse (ACH) for electronic deposit to financial institutions anywhere in the U.S.

Why now after all these years? “These kinds of transitions are hard to do,” said Governor Ige. “It literally impacts every single person in state government. It’s a high-risk undertaking because if I make an error with your pay, it’s easy for you to get angry. It’s easier to say ‘Just leave it alone.’”

So why did this administration decide to take the risk? “Because these core systems impact our ability to deliver services,” explained the governor. “Modernizing these systems allows us to be more effective so we can deliver better services to the community for the tax dollars we collect. As we implement these successful projects, we can inspire people to make other changes to improve services.” Added DAGS director and state comptroller Rod Becker, “The success of the new system is a credit to the countless state employees, employee organizations, and other agencies that have partnered on this project.”

So far, two groups totaling 23,000 employees have successfully transitioned to the modernized system. Group 3, consisting of about 55,000 employees from the Department of Education and the University of Hawai‘i system will transition in December. The project is being implemented by the Department of Accounting and General Services in coordination with the Office of Enterprise Technology Services and CherryRoad Technologies, Inc.

Under the new system, employees will be able to manage their payroll information online and taxpayers will benefit from the savings in efficiencies and better use of government resources for improved services. A modernized state system will also help with recruitment of a new generation of employees, say state officials. “I see it as a way to recruit younger people into the state workforce,” said Budget and Finance Director Laurel Johnston. “We have to use technology. We can’t recruit younger people, then hand them a stack of paper and say, ‘Here, you have to process this one sheet at a time’.”

Read more in October’s Capitol Connection newsletter