Brookfield Township officials spent a lot of time at the June and July department head meetings talking about payroll.

Trustee Dan Suttles said he sympathizes with employees who would like to change parts of the payroll process, and is not against changing it, but he will not support doing so unilaterally. The employees, as a group, not just a handful of complainers, have to approach the trustees, he said, and be willing to reopen their contracts.

“We just signed three-year contracts with everybody in this township, and I brought it up,” Suttles said. “I brought it up the two times I negotiated, that we should address payroll. Not one of our employee groups wanted to address it. So, now we’re in the first year of our contract, and we have problems with pay.”

The road department contract specifies paychecks will be “issued” the 3rd and 18th day of the month, while the police and fire department pacts say payroll will be “processed by” those days.

Paychecks typically are issued the 3rd and 18th of the month. It takes three days for Fiscal Officer Dena McMullin to process payroll, but holidays and weekends can force her to process payroll early – requiring time cards to be in earlier – and affect when banks register the direct deposited paychecks. Road Sup. Jaime Fredenburg said he sometimes has to guess on employee hours or make up in future paychecks for hours worked that were not registered in the last pay. 

“I’m not gonna lie, it is a scramble to get it done,” McMullin said. “And it’s a scramble for (department heads) to get me the papers (time cards).”

McMullin said she would prefer to have paychecks she issued on the 5th and the 20th, “because that takes into account holidays and everything else.”

Some employees complain that they don’t always have enough money in their accounts if payroll is late and they have automatic bill paying, officials said.

Fredenburg, who represented the employees, said he has to “fight the clock” every time he does payroll.

“You should change your whole system, because your department heads have to turn in payroll before the end of the pay period,” Fredenburg said.

“I think the best scenario would be if you cut off payroll a week prior (to the issuance of paychecks), then you don’t run into these problems,” Suttles said, but added, “We’re not going to pay the road department different than we pay the police and fire. If the employees in general want to change our pay, the employees as a group need to come to us. If the fire department and the police department, the only two collective bargaining agreements that we have binding agreements with, are not willing to open up their contracts, we cannot go any further.”