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.