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Deconstructing the disaster that is Phoenix — 6 Comments

  1. Minor portions I’d disagree with, but a mostly fair assessment. It’s a process problem with an IT component, not an IT problem.

    However, the utter lack of transparency & lack of information is what’s so galling. That the number of open tickets doubled a few days before the OAG report is due out is not suggestive of an honest, open organization. (In fact, some of the third party reviews mentioned the lack of willingness to speak truth to power within PSPC as a major contributor to the depth of problems).

    The massive loss of experience in the transfer to Miramichi is another significant contributor to the current mess – but that’s a big P political issue, and outside PSPC’s immediate control.

  2. > Grievances should continue to be filed. But only if they are TRUE grievances of non-pay. Mildly wrong pay, delayed raises, etc. are not grounds for grievances. They’ll get to it, you’re just not a priority. Pull your head out of your ass and realize there are people with REAL problems, and it isn’t you.

    I have a great deal of trouble with this sentiment.

    To date PSPC is doing this, prioritizing their case 1 and 2s, ignoring, for the most part, the case 3s. For the most part those are the hard cases at the bottom of the pile. Those are the raises and overtimes and other things not being paid out.

    This affects me personally, but also quite a number of my colleagues. All of us now are owed in the five figure ranges. Some of these problems have been outstanding frankly since before Phoenix was stood up—we were promised Phoenix would fix things.

    For the most part, we have been waiting. We were being paid our substantives, but no EDP or acting. Funnily enough our substantive pays were messed up by the acting location being in the wrong provinces even though acting was not paid out. so many of us now have significant tax errors too for the past two filing years.

    All that to say: enough! We Case 3s have been patient. Many of us have deferred plans, put our private lives in holding patterns while all of this is worked out. We’re still waiting, in some cases for nearly two years now.

    When is enough enough? How much longer do you think the government should be putting off the old cases?

    • First, let me thank you for sharing your experience. It’s exactly the type of story that we should have more of…with the right context and impact. Too bad we don’t see that in what gets rolled up.

      Second, the short answer is you shouldn’t have to wait. But that’s not the world we live in. Saying it doesn’t make it so. I’ve written more about it today, partly inspired by your comment. It likely looks like I’m being cold and insensitive. But the reality is that we have no magic wand, and regardless of how we feel about it, that it should be fixed now, it won’t be.

      So where do they start? For me it is kind of like Dante’s rings of hell. And, coldly, there are worse rings than the one you are on. Who do we save first? That doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of saving, or even that you don’t have legitimate concerns / complaints with all the rights that go with it.

      But we’ll never convince anyone that 3s should be given attention before 1s. How long will that take to clear the 1s? I didn’t address that in my new post, but I’ll talk a bit about it in my next one (tied to the audit). I don’t have any great solutions there though.

      Thanks again…

  3. “Equally, there is no alternative to the current system.”

    comment: Actually, there is an amazingly simple answer that no one seems to want to talk about. The unions of course would be horrified. The answer is to allow departments to opt out of both Phoenix and the Pay Centre. It’s a little known secret but some federal organizations use neither Phoenix or the Pay Centre. For example, the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (5,000 employees worldwide) has its own pay system that works very well. A few small federal organizations use the Royal Bank’s pay system. All that has to happen is that a department sets-up a contract with a private sector payroll provider and then pick a date where pay is stopped in Phoenix and pay starts up in the new system. HR would deal with the third-party provider in the private sector instead of the Pay Centre and badda-boom, badda-bing you’re out of payroll hell. No system is perfect but you’re not going back to the old system and you’re out of Phoenix and Pay Centre.

    • Thanks for the comment. I’m hoping to talk a bit about that in my next post about the Phoenix audit. I don’t think I have enough for a whole separate post on it, so thought I would merge it. I’m not sure outsourcing would help as much as some might think…

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