August 3, 2001
Governor Mike Huckabee
Dear Governor Huckabee:
We appreciate the time your staff took yesterday evening to meet with us about the serious problems many state employees are having with the AASIS system.
Our members turned in forms listing problems, in the hope that we can cooperate to get them relief. As of this date, many had not been brought up to date on payroll. Beverly Alor, a Mental Health Worker at the Arkansas State Hospital, was $120 short on the first check, and $60 short on this most recent transfer. Mr. Thomas made it clear that checks are being cut off cycle to pay those who didnt receive the proper amounts. This is helpful..
Unfortunately, because pay day was delayed, and direct deposits werent made as promised, many state employees have mounting bounced check fees, and late charges. Jean Marrow, a nurse at Benton Services Center, now owes $459 to her bank and creditors as a direct result of being promised that funds were to be in her account- when they werent.
Because of delays, or lack of payment, many state employees have now had their phones shut off. Others are without electricity. As Redonia Harshaw said yesterday, A young athlete died yesterday because it was so hot. People need electricity to cool off. We dont want state employees getting sick- or dying from the heat. People need immediate relief- what are they going to do to eat?
Employees at the Arkansas State Hospital and Benton Services Center arent getting pay stubs. They have been told to go on line to get their pay information. They want copies of their stubs to be sure their paychecks are accurate, to ensure that their time and leave is calculated properly, and for use in transactions which require pay stubs. They frequently dont have time to stop working to go on line, computers are not always available, they cant always log on, codes often dont work, and they worry about having to leave their personal information out for everyone to see when they need to respond to emergency calls.
At the end of the meeting, we were again reassured told that checks are being cut off cycle, so that those who havent gotten paid will be brought up to date. Your staff said that there was currently discussion about providing paychecks in a way other than by mailing to employees homes. They also said there was discussion on the issue of reimbursements, but were unable to say whether this would be for the full amounts lost.
These are positive steps, but we hope youll agree to go further and implement what weve laid out below:
1) Pay employees on pay day. This means having the direct deposits done in time to be posted on pay day, and having pay checks in peoples hands on pay day.
2) Pay all fees charged to employees as a result of receiving payments they believed to have been made later than pay day. This includes bounced check fees, late fees, and other penalties as a result of late payments. Those who received their checks so late that theyve been forced to pay late fees, are facing shut offs, or have been shutoff should be reimbursed for those costs. If the agencies dont have the funds, you should find the funds to do so.
3) Provide all employees and state contract workers with a regular written record of their pay each pay day. This should include all the information that generally appears on check stubs
4) Agree to write letters to Southwestern Bell, Entergy, and Arkla asking them to freeze late charges and shut offs for all state employees and state contractors who have not received their pay on payday.
Please send your response to my attention at the address listed above no later than Friday, August 10th.