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Hundreds of firefighters to be impacted by payroll system change, Virginia Beach responds to concerns

Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters President Max Gonano said the city's firefighters didn't get much notice.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — After a system switch, Virginia Beach City leaders said they're fixing some issues with their new payroll system. The paychecks for hundreds of Virginia Beach firefighters will be impacted this pay period.

Virginia Beach Professional Firefighters President Max Gonano said they didn't get much notice.

“At 5:19 [Tuesday] evening, letting us know that the paychecks are going to be different than what anybody was expecting," Gonano said.

He said after the email was sent out, many firefighters reached out to him.

“I thought my phone was going to break last night because of all the vibrating and ringing it was doing after all the phone calls and texts I was receiving. So people are very upset," he explained. "They are up in arms about it and they this thing fixed immediately."

Gonano said the new Virginia Beach VBTime payroll system will change firefighters' schedules.

"Instead of getting a steady paycheck that averages out for our three-week pay cycle, we’re ending up on a two-week cycle which actually ends up shorting two shifts their money for this particular pay period," he said.

Gonano said hundreds of firefighters could feel that shortage in their upcoming paycheck.

“About 250 firefighters from the city of Virginia Beach are going to be short 16 hours they would otherwise be getting for their paycheck, and some firefighters in another shift will be getting paid more than they were expecting," said Gonano.

He said for some firefighters, that’s hundreds of dollars that they will not have for the first of the month.

"It just causes an issue with people that have bills due. Rent, mortgages, and things like that. It's just an unnecessary stress on these men and women who work very hard for the city of Virginia Beach.”

Virginia Beach leaders said no one is losing money and system contractors are working to get firefighters their earned pay. 

City officials sent 13News Now this statement on the ongoing work with the payroll system.

Virginia Beach Communications Director Julie Hill:

"We take very seriously our responsibilities to pay our employees and know that our employees should be able to expect that they will receive their earned pay as scheduled. As the city manager had already communicated to the firefighter’s union president yesterday, no one is going to lose money and the system will be fixed. Payroll is working in conjunction with Information Technology and the Treasurer to have direct deposits or live checks on Monday, November 1st for the staff whose checks were short in hours. For those employees who will be overpaid this Friday, the overpayment will be deducted from their November 12th paycheck. All impacted employees have been notified. We are aware that 11 employees from a division in another department will not receive payroll direct deposit on Friday due to an incorrect pay code that mistakenly included them in the VBTime system, which is not supposed to happen until a later phase. The employees have been made aware of the issue and notified that they will receive either their regular direct deposit or a live check on Monday. 

The system we have adopted is UKG. https://www.ukg.com/, which we are calling VBTime. Information about the move to VBTime has been shared in various ways for months and department staff are, out of necessity, involved in inputting the data in the system.

As with any technology new system, when issues are identified, they are addressed and that is certainly the case with this since it involves employee pay and leave. The Virginia Beach Fire Department was on point for inputting the data the system needs to calculate pay, so the contractor is exploring the issue and making the necessary adjustments to accommodate the unique circumstances of firefighters’ schedules to ensure even pay. The new system is being rolled out in phases."