Problems exist in the new human resources management system that go far beyond normal transitional problems, the Faculty Senate stated in their monthly meeting on Tuesday. Professor of political science Gerald Gamm, chair of the Faculty Senate, voiced concerns that had been expressed all over campus. “This new system has disrupted offices throughout the university ever since its creation,” he said. “We conclude also that this disruption is not a transitional problem and is not due to a lack of information.”Concern with the new system is widespread in the faculty, staff and administration. “We normally have trouble attracting more than 30 to 35 people to a [senate] meeting,” Gamm said. “This level of turnout is probably unprecedented.” The meeting was held in Gleason Hall room 318, which seats almost 200, and the room was nearly full. Two weeks after asking for feedback on the new system, “60 departments had responded,” Gamm said. “Fifty-six said their experience was negative.”Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Ronald Paprocki explained that the change to the current system was caused by changes made in 1997. The human resource management system used until then was obsolete. The management systems used even before then have been provided by PeopleSoft. Since 1997, UR had only made the minimum improvements necessary to stay functional, partly because various staff and administrators necessary to the change left and were replaced during that time. But over the summer, UR upgraded to the latest version of the software, PeopleSoft 8.8. Assistant Vice President of Human Resources Charles Murphy said that there were many possible causes for the problem. Some complications were carried over from the old system. “In the old human resources system we had 900 department codes, but in the finance system we only had 200,” Murphy said. “[And] we have some departments today that [still] require their employees to fill out pieces of paper.”Also, New York state labor rules changed over the summer, further complicating the changeover. But Murphy conceded that the biggest problem was mistakes in planning. “We underestimated the complexity,” he said. “There was extensive training but no actual access before the go-live,” he continued. “The service center staff needed more time.”There have been many different problems such as employees getting underpaid or not paid at all, but the most common problem is the long time it takes to enter the database. “75 percent of all the complaints came out to be, ‘It takes too long to do this,'” Murphy said. One faculty member trained in advance in using the system to help others, agreed. “It’s not so much that the system isn’t working,” she said. “But we have a girl in the department and people come in to [get help], and it can take her half an hour for each person.”Murphy emphasized that they are already working to fix the problems. “We’ve resolved 10 of the 15 [major problems] already,” he said. “We are committed to providing solutions to the problems that have been identified.”One change already made was to move the Nursing, Facilities and Finance administration modules onto separate systems. This greatly sped up the time it took to use the database. “By cutting out those three customers, we cut our cycling time from two hours to an hour or less,” Murphy said. Many faculty and staff felt that the new system has unfairly increased the workload for them. “The work that used to be done by central administration has been left for individual departments,” Professor of Anthropology Thomas Gibson said. But Paprocki maintained that was strictly temporary. “During implementation more work has been generated that would not [happen] in a steady state,” he said.Director of Student Activities Anne-Marie Algier pointed out another major problem – employees with individualized pay arrangements. “Most of our problems are stemming from student workers,” she said.Levesque can be reached at clevesque@campustimes.org.



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