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State workers missing paychecks Monday morning due to glitch

Pat Forgey

JUNEAU -- Paychecks for 15,000 state employees failed to arrive in their bank accounts as scheduled Monday morning, according to the Alaska Department of Administration.

State officials are blaming the failure on errors by U.S. Bank, an outside contractor, but are saying the checks should be there by 9 a.m.Tuesday.

"We are working with U.S. Bank to determine how this happened on their end," said Curtis Thayer, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration. That department handles numerous mundane but critical functions that keep state government working.

Thayer said the bank had taken responsibility for the failure, and will make whole any employees hit with banking fees because the deposit delay.

"We've been working with them to get a root cause analysis to determine what the problem is," he said.

One clue: U.S. Bank is new at the paycheck depositing function for the state, having handled it only since March. Monday was the first time that the process straddled a weekend, he said.

Friday, the state transmitted to U.S. Bank a file listing who was to be paid, while the bank took the money to make the payments from a state account. But Monday morning, the checks didn't arrive.

The state's contract with U.S. Bank calls for work over weekends to allow for unimpeded check deposits, Thayer said.

"We do pay for a service to allow banking over a weekend," he said.

Thayer's department provides paychecks for most state employees, including the executive, legislative and court branches. It does not cover the University of Alaska. About 15,000 of 16,700 state employees were scheduled to get their paychecks direct deposited Monday, he said.

Thayer said the president of the bank has taken responsibility and apologized.

Contact Pat Forgey at pat(at)alaskadispatch.com