Feds won’t miss a paycheck because of Sandy

The storm drenched Washington Monday The storm drenched Washington Monday J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Hurricane Sandy is not disrupting federal payroll operations, according to the director of the National Finance Center, which is responsible for paying much of the federal workforce.

The New Orleans, Louisiana-based center just finished processing pay for the last two weeks, said John White, NFC director, and federal employees should receive their pay by electronic transfer Monday. Hurricane Sandy, the massive storm creeping up the East Coast, forced the federal government to close on Monday and has affected millions of people living along the Atlantic seaboard. Airports, major public transportation systems and schools are shuttered. But the bad weather has not affected NFC’s ability to process payroll for 650,000 federal workers, White said. A technician reached by calling the centers 1-800 number also said she did not know of any disruptions and that the weather was “fine” in New Orleans.

White also said the center will not have a problem disbursing feds’ salaries for the next pay period scheduled in two weeks. The Agriculture Department runs the National Finance Center, which also has facilities in Denver, Colo., and St. Louis, Mo.

The National Finance Center has contingency plans in place for emergencies, given its location in hurricane-prone New Orleans. White told Government Executive that the center works with SunGard, a software, information technology and business continuity company to ensure payroll services are not disrupted and also conducts emergency drills twice a year. During Hurricane Isaac, which affected the U.S. Gulf Coast this past summer, NFC deployed personnel to another location, for example, to maintain service, White said.

Hurricane Sandy also so far has not affected the operations of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which administers payroll to Defense Department employees, according to a DFAS spokesman. DFAS is based in Indianapolis, Ind., and has facilities in Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland; Rome, N.Y., and Limestone, Maine. “In the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, DFAS has plans in place to ensure the pay process is not disrupted,” said Tom LaRock, deputy director of corporate communications at DFAS. The service pays all Defense military and civilian personnel and retirees as well as major Defense contractors. DFAS is also responsible for the payroll of the Executive Office of the President, the Environmental Protection Agency, the departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

-- Correction: While the National Finance Center does payroll for much of the federal civilian workforce, DFAS processed pay for 6.6 million people in fiscal 2011, according to its website.

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