Author Topic: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible  (Read 83295 times)

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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #150 on: January 04, 2018, 10:02:47 »
I read some of those DM letters (not all).

What a bunch of CYA bull. I dare anyone here to actually take one letter - any one and actually explain exactly what is being done in any given department and how it is actually fixing anything. And their release through the press centre is proof that all this is is public relation stunt, trying of all things to pull wool over the eyes of civil servants on how, in a crisis, the civil service screws things up instead of resolving it while waiting for the crisis to subside (as if they didn't know!).

Those letters are typical upper crust civil service bumf that make it sound like activity is going on and improperly equates that with achieving something. In short, and to quote Zed about those higher civil servants: "You are everything we've come to expect from years of government training".

If real people's pay and lives weren't at stake it would be funny in exposing governmental incompetence at dealing with crisis.

Where are the real answers to the real questions: Who is fixing Phoenix, or working on implementing a replacement that will work? When do they expect to be done? How much will it cost? When will all the cases arising from it be resolved? Who will be held accountable for the screw-up? Are we going to sue the contractor who developed it (or not as it would expose that they merely took the garbage they were given by the government itself)?

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #151 on: January 04, 2018, 10:28:59 »
Pay is a process, not a computer system.  The failures are systemic through that process (including the computer system).  Thus the reticence to reveal anything of substance - the emperor has less than no clothes, and no bureaucratic organization will ever willingly disclose their own incompetence.  Far better to spend more public money to hide it.  (That the major PS union, PSAC, has been largely silent is due primarily, in my opinion, to their realization that they stand to gain more members as the Government continues its disorganized scramble to throw more money at the problems in the absence of anything resembling a plan).

As a friend observed "I'm owed over $18,000; if I were to take that money I'd be a criminal.  Somehow, those who have never paid me are not criminals."


My personal opinion?  It's time to eliminate most central service organizations within the public service (pay, travel, IM/IT).  They present significant institutional risk; as we see with Phoenix, failure is catastrophic.  Monopolies (whether public or private) increase cost and stifle innovation.  Imagine if every department sought out payroll services independently.  There would be a marketplace, where innovation would occur and there would be competition on quality and price.  If the payroll system for National Defence failed, they could adopt/adapt the one used by Global Affairs Canada.


But muddle on is the end state.  Meanwhile, I'm owed on the order of $10K (before taxes), with no indication of when I will be paid; no indication that the Government will comply with its own Directive on Payments (that is to say, payment of interest on overdue accounts); for one of my problems, they closed it as "complete" to run up their metrics, and sent a letter saying "We know we owe you money, but we don't know how to pay it back".

Long term institutional impacts are severe - there's a major erosion of trust between employees and the employer.  I'm expecting some sort of work action(s), timed to embarrass the government - whether wildcat strikes; a "sick of Phoenix" sick leave day across the public service; or some other actions to keep this in the public eye.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #152 on: January 04, 2018, 10:33:45 »
One further thought: A strike would in some ways be striking at the Government at their most vulnerable place.  Imagine if the PS did a half-hour walkout.  That would be ~250,000 people whose pay would have to be docked.  That's 250,000 transactions that would have to be processed... in Phoenix - or roughly three months of the pay office's processing capability (which PSPC claims is 80,000 cases per month).
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #153 on: January 04, 2018, 10:39:52 »
Long term institutional impacts are severe - there's a major erosion of trust between employees and the employer.  I'm expecting some sort of work action(s), timed to embarrass the government - whether wildcat strikes; a "sick of Phoenix" sick leave day across the public service; or some other actions to keep this in the public eye.

I am not sure a "wildcat" strike would even be considered a strike.

There was an old joke under the communist rule of Eastern Europe: "As long as they pretend to pay us, we'll pretend to work".

Being paid for work is the single underlying basis of any work contract. So it wouldn't even be a "strike" or "labour action" if employees simply told the government "You don't pay me, I don't come in to work".

Offline Colin P

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #154 on: January 06, 2018, 13:04:13 »
Pay is a process, not a computer system.  The failures are systemic through that process (including the computer system).  Thus the reticence to reveal anything of substance - the emperor has less than no clothes, and no bureaucratic organization will ever willingly disclose their own incompetence.  Far better to spend more public money to hide it.  (That the major PS union, PSAC, has been largely silent is due primarily, in my opinion, to their realization that they stand to gain more members as the Government continues its disorganized scramble to throw more money at the problems in the absence of anything resembling a plan).

As a friend observed "I'm owed over $18,000; if I were to take that money I'd be a criminal.  Somehow, those who have never paid me are not criminals."


My personal opinion?  It's time to eliminate most central service organizations within the public service (pay, travel, IM/IT).  They present significant institutional risk; as we see with Phoenix, failure is catastrophic.  Monopolies (whether public or private) increase cost and stifle innovation.  Imagine if every department sought out payroll services independently.  There would be a marketplace, where innovation would occur and there would be competition on quality and price.  If the payroll system for National Defence failed, they could adopt/adapt the one used by Global Affairs Canada.


But muddle on is the end state.  Meanwhile, I'm owed on the order of $10K (before taxes), with no indication of when I will be paid; no indication that the Government will comply with its own Directive on Payments (that is to say, payment of interest on overdue accounts); for one of my problems, they closed it as "complete" to run up their metrics, and sent a letter saying "We know we owe you money, but we don't know how to pay it back".

Long term institutional impacts are severe - there's a major erosion of trust between employees and the employer.  I'm expecting some sort of work action(s), timed to embarrass the government - whether wildcat strikes; a "sick of Phoenix" sick leave day across the public service; or some other actions to keep this in the public eye.

Having gone from DFO to TC, DFO pay was horrible and screwed up. TC pay office was switched on, responsible and supported by management by ensuring that any positions had proper funding and no funky stuff going on. DFO was using capital monies to pay salary at times, a big no-no. I pointed out to our DM last month that the fix is bringing back our old pay system. They said the issue then is where it interacts with Phoenix. They don't realize this is a flightless dodo that will never rise from the ashes. 

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #155 on: January 23, 2018, 17:23:17 »
For fun: Read what PSPC's senior staff were bragging to professional organizations before go live. 

http://www.fmi.ca/media/765533/Rosanna%20Di%20Paola_GoC%27s%20Pay%20Transformation.pdf

I like the "Final Considerations" - Ensure you have solid contingency plans (and funding) in place

 :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:  :rofl:
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Offline Mike63

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #156 on: January 23, 2018, 19:10:09 »
Well my last day in the PS was yesterday, Jan 22nd, I'm curious to see either how long I will continue to get paid or, now long it's going to take to get my pension!
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Offline tree hugger

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #157 on: January 24, 2018, 08:41:26 »
Just checked my acct.  I got paid again today from the PS even though I've been on LWOP since 1Oct... :not-again:

Thought about quitting altogether, but I imagine I'd still be paid in that scenario too... :facepalm:
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #158 on: January 24, 2018, 10:35:33 »
Well my last day in the PS was yesterday, Jan 22nd, I'm curious to see either how long I will continue to get paid or, now long it's going to take to get my pension!

The advice in my last recent pension course was to get a letter from your manager stating the last day you worked and at what level. The pension office will use that as a baseline to start your pension and make any corrections when Phoenix finally coughs out your last day and pay calculations. They also recommended that your last day coincide with a payday to make payout easier.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #159 on: January 26, 2018, 20:08:47 »
And, after the year end panic to get everything recorded for people who owe money... "Oops!  The problem is bigger than we thought!"

https://ipolitics.ca/2018/01/26/phoenix-woes-capacity-problems-mean-overpayments-wont-get-processed-time-union-head-says/


Of course, the question of "When will there be a panic to pay people what they are owed?" remains unanswered.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #160 on: January 27, 2018, 13:52:04 »
What the Union can do is threaten selective striking, aiming at vital stuff or stuff that makes the government money and minimizing impacts on the public and maximizing impacts on politicians, ministers and senior management. Say like IT not fixing blackberry stuff for a few days.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #161 on: January 27, 2018, 14:33:48 »
Focused strikes, against government priorities or intended to embarrass the government (backdrops for announcements etc) may be the way to go.

Or even schedule a day for the public service to call in sick - #SickOfPhoenix.

But status quo mealy mouthed "We don't like this" efforts by union leadership have done precious little; I expect the next rounds of elections may see more aggressive leadership installed, and a return to a much more tumultuous relaitonship between government and organized labour.
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Offline garb811

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #162 on: January 27, 2018, 16:27:01 »
I don't have any direct report civilians right now but out of curiousity, I took the manager training that is currently being offered online.

All I can say it was eyeopening.  Some of the most basic design and workflow choices they made in the programming of that system guarantees that even in the best case scenario where the system was working 100%, people are doomed to having to escalate their problems to Miramichi, even for something as minor and simple as a new manager not being able to retroactively approve your overtime prior to their arrival.  Ludicrous.

Yeah, our pay system may be from the 1990s but, aside from the occasional hiccup, newer isn't always better.

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #163 on: January 27, 2018, 17:15:48 »
'Newer', had it been appropriately alpha and beta-tested and implemented in an incremental manner with appropriate training for operators, mangers and users, might have been better.....alas, it would seem now that 'the fix' may end up costing far more than the projected savings, let alone the impact to so many rank and file of the PS.

Regards
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #164 on: January 27, 2018, 17:27:06 »
There's an artificial lull in departures, as people want to get pay sorted before they leave (did I mention that once you leave or are on leave you can't access your pay information any more?).

Once people either (a) get their stuff sorted out or (b) realize that waiting will do nothing, expect higher than average attrition.  (DND public service attrition is already higher than Reg F attrition - it's going to get worse).
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #165 on: January 27, 2018, 17:51:38 »
If Phoenix doesn't know enough about you to pay you right, how would it even know that you have left the civil service.  :Tin-Foil-Hat:

[We need an emoticon that automatically plays the X-Files theme, dammit.]

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #166 on: January 27, 2018, 18:04:11 »
I have one friend whose pay eventually stopped once he retired.  As I recall, it was about four months of both pay and pension, and periodic calls to the pay office, before his income was reduced to a single stream.  And knowing him, he'll repay the slowest way possible - and probably ask for detailed breakdowns in writing, which will only further delay the day of reckoning.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #167 on: February 02, 2018, 12:44:45 »
I just met with a senior civil servant, a truly great leader who cares about their people, who is leaving because they can't help their staff through the Phoenix nightmare. They're getting no support from on high, and no one apparently cares.

I asked how many other senior leaders were thinking of doing that too and they said "Most of the good people I know."

Oh.... Canada....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #168 on: February 02, 2018, 12:48:01 »
It's going to take a DM from a large department to break in public from the party line and call for a new pay system.  Until the senior leadership admits failure, we'll continue to circle the drain.

(From my perspective: you know it's bad when you find yourself saying "Well, it's only $10K they owe me... it could be worse...")
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Offline c_canuk

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #169 on: February 02, 2018, 14:45:05 »
I expect this will only be resolved expediently if the PSU calls a general strike.
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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #170 on: February 02, 2018, 15:11:46 »
I just met with a senior civil servant, a truly great leader who cares about their people, who is leaving because they can't help their staff through the Phoenix nightmare. They're getting no support from on high, and no one apparently cares.

I asked how many other senior leaders were thinking of doing that too and they said "Most of the good people I know."

Oh.... Canada....

But doesn't the act of walking away and washing your hands of it leave those subordinates with one less person who cares?  Don't great leaders lead throughout and despite the turmoil and despair?  In most cases those subordinates can't walk away and are now leaderless!
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Offline runormal

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #171 on: February 02, 2018, 17:23:01 »
I just met with a senior civil servant, a truly great leader who cares about their people, who is leaving because they can't help their staff through the Phoenix nightmare. They're getting no support from on high, and no one apparently cares.

I asked how many other senior leaders were thinking of doing that too and they said "Most of the good people I know."

Oh.... Canada....

Wouldn't now be the time for this individual to go all in and out and "put their neck on the line"?

If your career is over, wouldn't that be that be time to do that?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #172 on: February 02, 2018, 18:04:04 »
Wouldn't now be the time for this individual to go all in and out and "put their neck on the line"?

If your career is over, wouldn't that be that be time to do that?

They pushed as much as they dared, several times, and even supported the public protests here in Victoria.

After banging your head against the wall for 2 or 3 years you get a little shell shocked, I would imagine.
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Offline runormal

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #173 on: February 02, 2018, 19:06:49 »
They pushed as much as they dared, several times, and even supported the public protests here in Victoria.

After banging your head against the wall for 2 or 3 years you get a little shell shocked, I would imagine.

I suppose, I guess it isn't that simple.

We've very high profile go "toe to toe" with shared services, but still.

Shared Services Canada was a battle chief statistician couldn't win
http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/shared-services-canada-was-a-battle-chief-statistician-couldnt-win

Canada's top cop said it would be 'reckless' to keep using federal government's IT service
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ssc-rcmp-it-public-safety-1.4373232

U.S. consultants slam Shared Services Canada for failing projects
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/shared-services-canada-it-gartner-consultants-email-brison-harper-management-1.4143071

Offline Mike63

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Re: Phoenix Pay System - crap's Horrible
« Reply #174 on: February 05, 2018, 12:17:31 »
The advice in my last recent pension course was to get a letter from your manager stating the last day you worked and at what level. The pension office will use that as a baseline to start your pension and make any corrections when Phoenix finally coughs out your last day and pay calculations. They also recommended that your last day coincide with a payday to make payout easier.

Thanks Colin, email request was sent to my supvr for this today.
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