HILLSBORO, Mo. – Ashley Fears has two roles in this report – spokesperson and victim.

“Yes, I was one of the employees who was impacted by the reversal,” she said.

Fears isn’t just one of approximately 200 Jefferson County employees who had their recently-deposited paychecks erroneously withdrawn from their bank accounts this week, she’s also the deputy director of administration for Jefferson County government.

“This was an issue with our third-party payroll processor. This was not something our human resources department initiated. Unfortunately, when it occurred, the third-party payroll processor did not notify us,” Fears said. “As soon as we were aware of the issue, our human resources department jumped right on it and started investigating to try and resolve the issue as quickly as they could.”

We obtained internal emails sent by the county’s human resources manager alerting elected officials and directors to the issue. The email sent Tuesday night notes, “this issue has been resolved, and all funds will be returned to all affected accounts by the of the May 3rd, 2023.”

A second email sent Wednesday morning said, “ADP has indicated reversals should be hitting the banks around noon today. It concludes saying, “ultimately, we will ensure employees are made whole.”

A letter sent to employees asks for, “cooperation in reversing or refunding any fees incurred due to the error.”

“If any employees are still having any issues, they need to contact our human resources department, and they will continue to work with them diligently to resolve any problems,” Fears said.

Fears said the county’s HR team has been contacting banks to settle any issues its employees may have encountered.

“It caught me a little off guard. I’m not going to lie. But I knew that it must’ve been some mistake and that the mistake would be fixed in due time,” she said. “We’re very empathetic and understanding of the impact it had on our employees, and just want to reassure them it was nothing we did. We’re doing everything we can to resolve the issue.”