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Officials: UI overpayment stems from paperwork inefficiencies

BY NICHOLAS MILLER | JULY 10, 2012 6:30 AM

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A state audit for fiscal 2011 reports 338 incidents of overpayment by the University of Iowa to employees, and one university official cites poor timing among UI administrators for the overpayments totaling $645,741.

"It is a matter of having the correct paperwork at the right time," UI spokesman Tom Moore said.

Moore did not know whether the 338 incidents were for 338 different employees or if there were unintentionally repeated cases.

The $645,741 is an increase in overpayments by $73,441 over fiscal 2010.

Moore said the university has made efforts to reduce the problem.

"The primary solution is to make sure all have the appropriate resources to complete their paperwork on time," he said. "We continue to improve our processes."

The efforts have resulted in a 20 percent reduction in overpayments for fiscal 2012.

Ninety-three percent of the overpayment was returned by June 12, and the remaining 7 percent is being collected.

There is a procedure in place where the employees affected by the overpayment are notified, Moore said. Then repayment for each case is handled individually, he said.

If people are still employees of the university, they have the option of withholding funds from their next paychecks, Moore said.

Officials from Iowa State University and University of Northern Iowa say the schools have never overpaid their employees to the same extent the UI has done.

Doug Anderson, the payroll manager for Iowa State University, was surprised to hear how much the UI had overpaid, and said Iowa State has never overpaid employees by that amount.

"Nothing at that magnitude; nothing close to that," he said.

Anderson said that overpayments typically happen at Iowa State when employees give notice of unpaid leave too late in the month.

When that happens, he said, the employees are notified, and overpayments are taken out of their next paychecks.

Anderson said it is very rare for employees to be overpaid in error. However, if the circumstance does occur, they would be notified and asked to write a check for the amount to the university.

Linda Gruetzmacher, the payroll manager for University of Northern Iowa, also said the university sometimes experiences overpayments but never at the amount the UI has experienced.

Gruetzmacher said overpayments usually happen when employee's statuses are not changed fast enough if they switch from full-time to half-time, or if they resign.

She said repayment depends on when the overpayment is discovered, employees have the option of repaying by check or withholding funds from their next paycheck.

"We certainly have overpayments; it is not unusual," she said.


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