Thompson Strives for a Perfect Payroll

Dale Thompson
While on vacation in Alaska, Dale Thompson took an ATV tour up the side of a mountain.

Every other week District employees receive a welcome email — Heading: Deposit Advice; Sender: Dale Thompson. But who is this person?

She’s a payroll supervisor who has been with the District for 10 years. She supervises two employees. The Payroll Section’s primary responsibility is to ensure that District employees get paid accurately and on time, a service that employees are sure to appreciate.

“The American Payroll Association has a T-shirt that reads ‘Happiness is a perfect payroll’ — this is the unspoken motto of our section,” said Thompson. “Nobody’s perfect, but more often than not, we’re happy.”

While Thompson is a member of the local Suncoast Bay Area Chapter of the American Payroll Association and the national association, she wasn’t always involved with finance and payroll. When Thompson graduated college, she taught English and science to seventh- through twelfth-grade students. After eight years, and a student who set his desk on fire, Thompson decided it was time for a career change.

That’s when she began working at Dun & Bradstreet Plan Services in Tampa as a medical claims examiner, an accounts payable clerk and a payroll supervisor. Thompson spent nine years with Dun & Bradstreet Plan Services before moving on to Zellerbach, another Tampa company, where she served as payroll administrator for five years.

Thompson came to the District after reading an ad in the paper. “The position sounded interesting and when I came here and saw the type of organization it was, I thought I would be a great fit.”

Thompson and the Payroll Section monitor compliance with District Personnel Guidelines on hours of work and leave usage, as well as state and federal regulations pertaining to employee pay and taxation. The group also implements the new pay deductions resulting from the Human Resources Department’s open enrollment period each year and is responsible for producing W-2 forms and filing quarterly tax reports.

Thompson says she is always on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency and enhance our automated systems. A change in how the savings bond deductions are managed saves the District staff time and money. She also initiated District deductions for the Florida Prepaid College Program.

Another big change was going from paper time sheets to a PC-based time entry system. “The transition was successful because of the help of my manager and the Information Resources Department (IRD) staff,” said Thompson. “IRD also helped us convert from paper deposit advices to email notices. One of my future goals is to do something similar with W-2 forms.”

When Thompson is not busy making sure the staff gets paid properly, she enjoys planning vacations with Jerry, her husband of 37 years. Together they have been to London, Mexico and Alaska.

“We started taking big vacations on our landmark anniversaries,” said Thompson. “We went to Mexico on our twenty-fifth, London on our thirtieth and Alaska on our thirty-fifth. We hope to see Australia on our next big trip,” said Thompson.

“I like to be a little adventurous on our vacations and try things I wouldn’t normally do,” said Thompson. On their last trip, they went on an ATV tour up the side of a mountain in Alaska. Thompson became separated from the group for a while and was alone in the wilderness, but she said it was a lot of fun.

The high school sweethearts also have two grown sons, Jerry and James.

“Some people may think that payroll sounds boring, but there are always new things to do and regulation changes to keep track of,” said Thompson. “I have never had a dull day in my 23 years of working with payroll.”

In the meantime, employees will continue to look forward to her next email.