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Morgantown Fire Local 313: Firefighter checks wrong under new pay system

MORGANTOWN — Chuck Campbell, president of the Morgantown City Firefighters Union Local 313, said pay for city firefighters has been messed up since the city moved to the new Paylocity HR & Payroll system in late 2023. 

Campbell addressed Morgantown City Council during the body’s regular Tuesday meeting. 

He said the new system was put in place on Dec. 23, 2023 with “little to no direction,” from the city, resulting in “payroll being incorrectly paid every pay period since …” 

“Why are we implementing these processes and then figuring out how to fix them later? Why are there no trial periods? Why do we have to be paid incorrectly and then fight to get our money back?” Campbell asked members of council. 

The Dominion Post reached out to the city on Jan. 26 about reported issues with firefighter pay. 

Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said she was not personally aware of any department-wide pay issues but was aware of “a few discrepancies for individual employees,” related to the roll out of the new software. 

“The new software has employees clocking in and out and auto calculates rates of pay, whereas in the old system, employees self-reported not only hours but also self-reported pay rate,” Muzzarelli explained. “Each supervisor within that department reviews their employee’s timesheet to approve it before it is processed by payroll.” 

Muzzarelli said the city is also asking employees to keep paper records to help verify pay under the new system. She said errors are usually addressed within a business day or two.  

Campbell said the city’s move to a four-day work week is also causing issues with how firefighters are being paid for holidays as the MFD and the Morgantown Police Department still work seven-day work weeks. 

“It seems as if we’re observing those holidays whenever we feel it’s necessary in the city, which is directly affecting the firefighters who are working the holidays who aren’t being compensated the way they should be compensated,” he said.   

This issue is in addition to the holiday pay dispute between the city and Local 313 that went all the way to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. 

Lastly, Campbell claimed the city made changes to how supplemental insurance premiums were to be paid without informing employees until some had already been dropped for lack of payment. 

“Why are the employees being forced to be inconvenienced and have to fight for everything that’s so simple; that should be worked out and figured out ahead of time? Why are we implementing these policies and technologies without any kind of trial periods,” he asked. “We’re just starting it and then figuring it out later, and the employees are the ones suffering for it.”