A glitch in the city’s payroll system caused about 150 New Orleans employees, most of them police officers, to receive either no paycheck or short paychecks this week.

The glitch was caused by the city’s switch to a new automated payroll system to replace the paper system it has been using since the early 1970s.

Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said that about a year ago, the outmoded paper system almost broke down completely one pay period, meaning no city workers would have gotten their biweekly checks.

According to Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office, 150 employees received incorrect paychecks; about 90 of them were police officers. He said the average discrepancy was $100. Although other reports said 43 officers received no paychecks at all, Gamble said the number was far less, though he could not provide an exact figure.

This was the first week that police officers’ pay was handled through the new electronic system.

Spokesmen for the Police Association of New Orleans and the Fraternal Order of Police were sharply critical of the errors.

Gamble said Saturday afternoon that city officials had reviewed about 80 percent of the pay discrepancies. He said 90 officers would be issued special debit cards loaded with funds in order to correct the errors.

After bowl bid, official feels bidders’ pain

Competition is always tough, especially when you’re on the losing side.

But New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin sought to pre-emptively soften the blow for the firms that would walk away empty-handed after a selection committee made its recommendation on which of two consortiums would get to oversee the construction of Louis Armstrong International Airport’s new $500 million-plus terminal.

Parsons Odebrecht and a group made up of Hunt Construction Group, Boh Bros. Construction LLC, Gibbs Construction and Metro Services Group had already tied in an initial round of scoring when the selection committee met for a second time Thursday.

Kopplin thanked the two teams for submitting proposals that he said were both so good they made the committee’s job of choosing one proposal “excruciatingly difficult.”

And as the scores were about to be tallied, he made sure to let the companies know he knew what it felt like to be in their shoes.

“The city of New Orleans ended up on the short end of the Super Bowl bid the other day, so I sat in the chair these two opposing teams sit in as recently as Tuesday,” Kopplin said. “It’s certainly an uncomfortable position to be in.”

Parsons Odebrecht ended up getting the committee’s recommendation, with a total score of 1,002 out of a potential 1,100 points. The Hunt group’s final score was 956.

Elevated population of mosquitoes detected

The city’s Mosquito and Termite Control Board said Friday it has detected an elevated number of mosquitoes in the area, including the Southern house mosquito that is the primary carrier of the West Nile virus.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has not reported any cases of West Nile virus in the state this year, but the city said it is still taking proactive measures to protect citizens.

It is applying insecticides targeting mosquito larvae and adults, the city said. Adult mosquitoes are being treated by fog trucks and by airplane. City Hall said it will continue these efforts throughout the summer.

The city also urged residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases by draining or treating the standing water where mosquitoes breed. That includes removing discarded tires, buckets and other items that can collect water; emptying containers where possible and changing water weekly in containers that cannot be removed, such as bird baths and kiddie pools; and making sure culverts and ditches are clear so that water can flow through them during heavy rains.

Residents are also asked to report illegal dumping, abandoned swimming pools and water leaks by calling 311.

And, of course, they can try to avoid mosquito bites by limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, using CDC-approved insect repellents and maintaining screens on windows and doors in good condition to keep mosquitoes from getting inside.

Residents may contact the Mosquito and Termite Control Board to ask it to treat standing water or raise any other questions or concerns regarding mosquitoes or West Nile virus. Call (504) 658-2400 or email mosquitocontrol@nola.gov.

Compiled by Dan Lawton, Jeff Adelson and Bruce Eggler

CORRECTION: An article Sunday said that more than 200 New Orleans employees, most of them police officers, received either short paychecks or no paychecks last week due to a glitch in the city’s new electronic payroll system. According to Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for the Mayor’s Office, 150 employees received incorrect paychecks; about 90 of them were police officers. He said the average discrepancy was $100. The article also stated that 43 officers received no paychecks. Gamble said that although he could not provide an exact number, it was far less than 43. The Advocate regrets the errors.