While April 15, is “tax day” for most, for those who work in Payroll, January is huge. This year, even the pandemic could not slow down the Payroll Department at Dutchess BOCES. In their corner of the Administration Building they print checks, fold papers and distribute the W-2 forms that are essential for tax season.
Supervisor Lois Schwarze and Account Clerks Cindy Cameron, who specializes in attendance, and Irma Puig, who handles benefits, proved over the years they can take on any task and hurdle that is thrown at them.
January is a busy month for the department because of yearly federal, state and local reporting requirements on top of performing their regular duties, Assistant Business Manager Mike Skerritt said.
“As someone with the good fortune of working closely with our Payroll and Benefits team, I’m continually impressed by their professionalism and dedication,” Skerritt said.
Schwarze and her team were tasked with creating and distributing over 600 W-2 forms by the January 31 deadline and sending out close to 800 Affordable Care Act notices shortly after, Skerritt said.
”Despite all the challenges that the last year has presented, Lois and her skilled and dedicated team continues to deliver and reminds me of just how fortunate we are to have them working on our behalf,” he said.
Prior to the big mailing, Schwarze and Cameron found out the company they work with delivered the wrong W-2 forms, Schwarze said which lead her to investigate and get to the bottom of the situation. The correct forms were eventually delivered.
“In this job you have to go with your gut and be persistent,” Schwarze said. “We made it over that hurdle.”
They faced further issues when the machine that seals the W-2s destroyed about 150 of them, but rather than reprint all 607 forms, Cameron only read off the names that needed to be replaced and Schwarze printed them.
“This area of Cindy’s desk here was filled with ripped W-2s. The shredder got a workout that night,” Schwarze said with a laugh. “Cindy is very patient, trust me.”
Cameron and Puig had a much easier time preparing the 1095 forms, which requires employees to either accept or deny employer offered health insurance and to provide dependent information.
“Everything went well, the mailing went well,” Cameron said. “It was like gravy.”
It’s important for Schwarze to analyze and question every piece of information that comes across her desk due to the nature of the job.
“When you put your head on the pillow at night, working in this atmosphere, it doesn’t shut off,” she said. “You can’t have your guard down.”
Puig, who Schwarze describes as patient, but firm, suggests all employees check their emails for vital information from Payroll and invites anyone to reach out to the office with questions.
“It’s better to call us and get information,” Puig said. “It’s better to get the right answers.”
Schwarze doesn’t have her own office because it’s much easier just to ask Cameron questions in the same room rather than to call her, the supervisor said.
“It just works, I don’t want to keep picking up a phone all day,” Schwarze said.
Cameron and Puig are exceptional and Schwarze is grateful to work with them.
“I don’t know where I would be without them,” she said.
Cameron agreed and said they all work well together.
“I think we all work well as a team, that’s really what it is,” Cameron said.