The University of Wisconsin System lost an additional $1.1 million due to glitches in its new payroll and benefits system, an accountant and top UW System financial official told the Board of Regents on Thursday.

President Kevin Reilly warned that further reviews this year by system staff, an independent analyst and the state auditor are "likely to find more issues."

Regents on the business, finance and audit committee harshly criticized UW System officials for the errors, which a state auditor's report released in January found also included nearly $33 million in overpayments for health insurance premiums and pension contributions during the last two years, about $20 million of which the UW System has since recovered.

"These problems and issues are broader than we were initially told," said Regent Gerald Whitburn, who chairs the committee. "Are they catastrophic? No. Should we be going through this? Absolutely not."

Officials said about $600,000 of the $1.1 million came from payments the UW System had to make to the federal government after discovering the system had not deducted enough Medicare and Social Security tax from some student employees during the summer months of 2011.

Another $350,000 in losses resulted from glitches in employee benefit charges such as not collecting benefits from employees who were on long-term leaves of absence but still responsible for paying health and pension contributions, officials said.

Larry Henderson, who directs the office that manages the human resources system, told Regents he was "cautiously optimistic" that a series of personnel changes and ongoing maintenance would fix the problems. In addition to adding staff and removing unnecessary access to the benefits system from dozens of employees who didn't need it, he said his office had also demoted, reassigned and removed some staffers. He declined to be specific, citing confidentiality.

Regent Gary Roberts said he questioned why the nearly $33 million in overpayments found by the state auditor took so long to discover — they were made in 2011 but first reported to system officials in October 2012 — and why he and some other committee members didn't hear about them until press reports in early January.

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(12) comments

Norwood44
Norwood44

This would make a great investigative piece. I would love to hear how this happened and who allowed it.

wsjsucks
wsjsucks

Not that this whole affair isn't a black eye, but how are finding that you owe more in taxes and are due more in benefit premiums considered to be "losses"?

jelohman
jelohman

So, where is this $1.1M now?

jcboo
jcboo

Somebody should ask how involved Michael Morgan has been in this fiasco.

Lionheart
Lionheart

@jcboo, Michael Morgan was ultimately in charge of the project. He has never admitted a mistake, never apologized to his employees for lying to them about how bad things were, and in fact has been quoted during the worst part of this cluste***** as saying everything is fine. I rarely agree with Nass or Grothman, but whichever said Morgan should not be allowed to take his job permanently was absolutely correct.

happydays
happydays

Maybe someone should consult with our illustrious business school and find out how to properly run a business?

itsrandallonregent
itsrandallonregent

Larry Henderson, who was "cautiously optimistic" about recalling Governor Walker, told Regents he should have been paying more attention to the loss of 34 million dollars, but instead was marching around the Capitol and singing songs during his lunch break. He said his office did some things to staffers, but he couldn't be more specific because all of them were blue fisted Union members who also signed the recall petition, citing confidentiality. He demoted, reassigned, and fired none of his staffers because they all work for the union, and added more staff he interviewed while they banged drums together during the protests.

wcg101
wcg101

Dissent is not only a right in a Democracy, it's an obligation.

Lionheart
Lionheart

@itsrandallonregent I know you hate unions in all forms, but just a note. If these are truly HR and payroll positions they aren't union jobs. People that work in those areas are generally considered confidential and CANNOT be members of the union and have never been represented. Doesn't mean they didn't sign the petition, doesn't mean they didn't protest. After all Walker gored the ox of EVERY public employee (and their families), but you can't always blame everything on the union. Just like lowering taxes doesn't solve every problem.

itsrandallonregent
itsrandallonregent

@Lionheart, is Larry Henderson in the union or not? He's in charge of the entire office, and isn't so concerned about his confidentiality, is he?
He certainly had his ox gored by Walker, and will probably have to DOWNSIZE from his 3,500 square foot HALF A MILLION DOLLAR home in the near future.
Oh well, I guess we can't just always blame everything on the evil 1%.

madcitydude
madcitydude

how many HR people across campus received 'critical compensation' awards?

Thurston Howell III
Thurston Howell III

Fools and their money are soon parted.

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