The mail at work this morning included a refund of the last payroll withholding payment I made to the old collection agency (the village changed to a new collection agency on July 1st). It seems, on inquiry, that although our liability to the old agency went through June 30th, they could not “touch that check” because it was dated July 2nd. Though unable to “touch” it they did cash it, and refund the money six weeks later.
With the employee’s June tax withholding back in my hands and consequently late, I called the new collection agency, which I pay electronically. Make the payment for the proper period they said, send them a dozen pieces of paper to prove I made the original payment on time and ask for abatement of penalty and interest. I did all that and made all the bookkeeping entries on the computer. It was time to go home; I turned off the computer, gathered up and was about to leave.
The phone rang. Now, an overly friendly employee of the state retirement agency was on the line. OPERS—Ohio Public Employee Retirement System. There has been on my desk for a month or so a letter from OPERS telling me my township is one of only two public employers in my county who do not file and pay electronically. Please call them to get instructions on how to do it.
I consider filing electronically to be the same as turning right on red. The law says I may, not that I must. Sadly, the electronic world has closed against me. Now I must. I must pay federal, state and local withholdings electronically. I must file my quarterly reports electronically. If not, there are penalties and interest charged against public money.
Sadly, nothing is uniform. Every payment is a different format, all defying description for stupidity. Gone the time of writing a check, completing a form and putting all in the mail for some highly trained person to input to their computer. Now I am some offshore clerk, doing the work for them.
OPERS remains voluntary, and represents my last stand. Except, I did not leave the building soon enough today, and found myself listening to a young man who did not listen to me. He spoke so fast and with such a teenage mush mouth that I repeated his talking points back to him to be sure I understood him. I told him over and over to slow down, speak up and for God’s sake, enunciate. To no avail.
When I asked what other public employer in my county did not file electronically, he would not tell. He told me there would be no more stamps and going to the post office. I replied I liked stamps and the post office. He bulled straight through to inform me filing electronically would be the easiest thing I ever did. Whereupon, dear reader, I lashed back. He has no knowledge of what I consider the easiest thing I ever did.
“Stop right there!”
I told him probably four times to shut up and listen to me. I told him I would call on Wednesday, when I must make the OPERS deposit, and learn how to set up the account and the electronic payment.
I did not tell him I would be transacting this piece of business with his supervisor, who would be informed of the young man’s inability to speak clearly.
On the way home from work I stopped at the bird seed store. Here is Rex, the lovely Westland White Highland terrier I’ve mentioned. From appearances, he was not having a good day, either.