Payroll trouble at Metro State University prompts audit

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2013 - 8:14 PM

Chancellor reacts to what officials have called “serious problems” after staffers cited pay errors over the summer.

The chancellor of the state university system has called for a formal audit of payroll problems at Metropolitan State University, where some faculty members say they haven’t been paid what they’re owed.

In an e-mail to faculty and staff, Chancellor Steven Rosenstone said Monday that campus officials are trying to “identify and correct all the salary errors,” which apparently occurred over the past few months.

Rosenstone said it appeared to be an “isolated problem” that did not affect other campuses in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, which has about 18,000 employees. At the same time, he said: “These payroll problems must never happen again. They are simply unacceptable.”

A spokeswoman for Metro State said that fewer than two dozen faculty members have complained that they weren’t properly paid over the summer months.

Faculty members, however, say the problem may be much bigger. “I don’t think anyone feels that our payroll that’s coming out this Friday will be correct,” said Matthew Filner, an assistant professor of political science and member of Metro State’s Inter Faculty Organization. He said that many faculty members believe the problems have been growing since June, when there was a large turnover in the staff handling payroll.

But he welcomed Rosenstone’s call for an audit. “That’s a huge step in the right direction,” he said. “We’re very encouraged.”

Earlier this month, Metro State’s top officials acknowledged that there were “serious problems” in the payroll system, affecting “a significant number of faculty members.”

Last week, Sue Hammersmith, the university’s president, said she had asked the chancellor’s office to conduct an “institutionwide payroll audit,” while officials worked to iron out the problems.

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

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