Luzerne County Employee Fired After Pay Lapse

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Luzerne County administrators on Monday responded to an error that resulted in about 1,400 employees not being paid on time by firing an employee who was on vacation at the time, according to several sources at the courthouse.

County Council Vice Chairman Edd Brominski confirmed the employee fired Monday was Jason Parrish, who was promoted from clerk to budget and policy analyst in May 2013 with a salary of $35,000.

Reached at home in Kingston on Monday afternoon, Parrish declined to comment at length, although he characterized the pay lapse as an accident. Asked if he thought his firing was justified, Parrish said, “That’s their decision, not mine.”

The decision to fire Parrish drew swift criticism from administration detractors who accused county Manager Robert Lawton of using Parrish as a fall man. Former county controller Walter L. Griffith Jr., who had worked with Parrish in the controller’s office, said Parrish was on approved vacation at the time and that he is being punished because management failed to delegate the task to someone else.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/county-employee-fired-after-pay-lapse-1.1795954

Former Munhall Manager Charged With Embezzling $230K From Borough

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Former Munhall borough manager Matt Galla was arrested Tuesday for allegedly embezzling more than $230,000 from the borough between 2010 and 2013.

Galla, 44, of West Mifflin, who was hired as a part-time clerk for the borough in 2009, became manager in December 2010 and had the position until he abruptly resigned last June.

According to court documents, Galla had a budgeted salary of $60,000. In the complaint, Detective William Miller wrote that Galla overpaid himself by nearly $12,000 in 2010, $85,000 in 2011, $80,000 in 2012 and $53,000 during the first six months of 2013.

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/5871094-74/galla-borough-payroll#ixzz2xg66dph8
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Cleaning Up Steve Reed’s Mess: Harrisburg’s Debt Plan Expected To Be Filed Today

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cleaning up former Mayor Steve Reed’s mess is going to take more than just a solution to his incinerator debt.

Harrisburg‘s state-appointed Receiver has said he hopes to file sometime today his plan to eliminate the city’s bad debt through the sale of the incinerator and a long-term lease of parking assets.

While the more than $360 million in unpayable debt at the incinerator is the root of why the city is in receivership, whatever plan is put forward has to account for much more than that.

Why?

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/harrisburg_debt_plan_cleaning.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Detriot Files For Bankruptcy

Map of downtown Detroit with I-375 and BS-375 ...

Map of downtown Detroit with I-375 and BS-375 highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DETROIT — Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection.

Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy expert, was hired by the state in March to lead Detroit out of a fiscal free-fall and made the filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court.

A number of factors — most notably steep population and tax base falls — have been blamed on Detroit’s tumble toward insolvency.  Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010.  A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000.  Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them.

In recent months, the city has relied on state-backed bond money to meet payroll for its approximately 10,000 employees.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130718/NEWS04/130719263/once-mighty-motor-city-files-for-bankruptcy

Feds Investigating McDonald’s Franchise Over Payroll Debit Cards

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Federal investigators are looking into whether a McDonald’s franchise in Luzerne County is breaking any laws by forcing employees to accept paychecks in the form of fee-carrying debit cards.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the franchise owners say the lawsuit’s contention that employees incur fees on all transactions is wrong and there are several ways workers could access their money for free.

Attorney Michael Cefalo of West Pittson recently filed the class action lawsuit in Luzerne County Court on behalf of Natalie Gunshannon, a Dallas Township woman who quit her job at the McDonald’s in Shavertown after the company issued her a debit card as pay and refused to pay her by check or direct deposit.

Days after the suit was filed and appeared nationally in the media, Cefalo said an investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor contacted his law office.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-mcdonalds-lawsuit-feds-20130623,0,517504.story#ixzz2X4dg5GQZ 
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McDonald’s Sued For Paying Pa. Employees With Fee-Carrying Debit Cards

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She spent her days serving up Happy Meals, but when it came time to get paid, Natalie Gunshannon says a local McDonald’s franchisee gave her an unhappy deal.

The Shavertown McDonald’s forces workers to be paid only one way: with a payroll debit card that burdens workers with hefty fees to obtain their hard-earned cash, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of Gunshannon and other McDonald’s workers.

Gunshannon and an untold number of current and former employees had no option to receive a traditional paycheck or get paid by direct deposit, she and her attorneys said in the class-action against franchise owners Albert and Carol Mueller of Clarks Summit.

“I’m looking for the pay I am owed and for them to understand there has to be an option,” Gunshannon, 27, said Thursday outside her Dallas Township residence.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pa-mcdonalds-lawsuit-20130616,0,640515.story

Don’t Be Fooled By January Pay — Higher Taxes Loom

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Ser...

Seal of the United States Internal Revenue Service. The design is the same as the Treasury seal with an IRS inscription. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Workers probably won’t feel the full brunt of next year’s tax increases in their January paychecks, but don’t be fooled by the temporary reprieve.

No matter what Congress does to address the year-end fiscal cliff, it’s already too late for employers to accurately withhold income taxes from January paychecks, unless all the current tax rates remain unchanged, which is an unlikely scenario.

Social Security payroll taxes are set to increase on Jan. 1, so workers should immediately feel the squeeze of a 2 percent cut in their take-home pay.  But as talks drag on over how to address other year-end tax increases, the Internal Revenue Service has delayed releasing income tax withholding tables for 2013.

As a result, employers are planning to withhold income taxes at the 2012 rates, at least for the first one or two paychecks of the year, said Michael O’Toole of the American Payroll Association.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121222/NEWS04/121229781/don-t-be-fooled-by-january-pay–higher-taxes-loom#full_story

Scranton’s Payday Hinges On Loan Closing

Scranton‘s next employee payday on Friday hinges on a loan closing on Thursday, city officials said.

Mayor Chris Doherty expressed confidence that the closing between the city and Amalgamated Bank of New York and Washington, D.C., would occur as scheduled Thursday and payroll would be made Friday.

“Everything seems to be on track” with the loan and payroll, Mr. Doherty said.

On Aug. 23, the mayor and council President Janet Evans announced the city had secured a $6.25 million tax-anticipation note loan from Amalgamated Bank, which bills itself as the largest union-owned bank in the country.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-s-payday-hinges-on-loan-closing-1.1365473

City Of Reading Hires Montgomery County Firm For Payroll

At Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s request, City Council on Monday awarded data processing giant ADP a $214,100 contract to take over the city’s payroll operations.

The move will get rid of an error-prone, in-house system for which the IRS has fined the city more than $100,000.

“We’re not payroll experts; we’re getting out of the business,” said Christopher Zale, acting director of administrative services.

The IRS fines – $50,400 each for tax years 2007 and 2008 because the city’s W-2 forms weren’t compatible with IRS computers, and weren’t re-filed properly until months after the deadline – were levied in 2010.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=378811

Scranton Embroiled In Dispute Over Another Short-Term Loan

Facing yet another cash-flow crisis, Scranton is trying to borrow a $2.75 million tax-anticipation note to pay routine daily bills and payroll.

The city administration has been negotiating with Landmark Community Bank for the TAN, but city council has balked at the bank’s demand that, in exchange for a TAN, the city must back an unsecured $2.95 million loan that the bank gave to the Scranton Parking Authority last year, council members said at Thursday’s meeting.

TANs are fairly routine, short-term loans that municipalities borrow to cover cash-flow gaps until tax revenues come in. However, the TAN dust-up is another example of how little is routine when it comes to the city’s long-standing fiscal challenges and divisions between the administration and council.

City held hostage?

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-embroiled-in-dispute-over-another-short-term-loan-1.1293590#ixzz1qqTjMwfK

Chester-Upland School District May Run Out Of Cash

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Image via Wikipedia

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Nearly two decades after being declared financially distressed, the school system in this struggling Philadelphia suburb faces a new and even more daunting crisis: It may run out of cash.

Administrators in the Chester Upland School District, one of Pennsylvania’s poorest systems and once the center of a failed experiment in school privatization, say they won’t be able to make payroll Wednesday unless the state advances the district $18.7 million in expected funding. While teachers and staff have vowed to continue working, the situation has thrown the system into new turmoil and has parents scrambling for other options.

Hoping to avoid a shutdown, the school filed a lawsuit Thursday, declaring a “cash-flow crisis” and asking a judge to tell state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis that he must act to provide students in the district with a “thorough and efficient educational system.” Meanwhile, anxious parents are looking at other options for their children, such as sending them to private schools or having them live with relatives and go to other public schools.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20120115/NEWS03/120119722

Harrisburg May Not Make Payroll For City Employees

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

Image via Wikipedia

A bad situation is getting worse by the minute.  Harrisburg has 557 employees and the payroll is $1.2 million.  Payroll is due next week and the city has $492,000.00 in the bank.

Fast Eddie and Linda Thompson are scrambling to find lenders to cover the payroll gap but lenders are skittish about investing in Harrisburg.  Not just because of the incinerator debt but also because of the fighting between the mayor and council.  There is no clear plan in place to get Harrisburg out of the mess they find themselves in.  There is a lot of rhetoric and finger-pointing but no good solutions seem to be forthcoming.

 Somebody needs to take control of this rapidly deteriorating situation!