Salvation Army office works with bell ringers, resolves brief pay glitch

DECATUR, Ala. -- The Salvation Army is well known for more than 150 years of service to people facing hardship. The organization provides a range of services including emergency shelter and meals for those in need.

And it regularly sees the hardship people face when they are without a paycheck. That made last week’s payroll glitch, which left 10 or so bell ringers temporarily without a paycheck, an unusual irony.

It was resolved by early Tuesday afternoon. The bell ringers had been hired to start ringing the familiar bell in early November for the Salvation Army at sites around Athens and Decatur.

Capt. Mark Gilliam, corps officer of the Salvation Army, serves Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties. The problem emerged last Friday.

“And we’ve had some folks who’ve rung for two weeks, and their payday was on Friday,” he said. “And because of a glitch in our system they didn’t get pay on their pay card.”

Charmane Garland became a Salvation Army bell ringer for the first time this year. She said that the bell ringers were issued cards and told that on payday the cards could be activated and the money would be available.

But it didn’t work. Garland said she made calls to the Salvation Army to find out what was going on, but there were no ready answers.

She was counting on the money and was frustrated by the delay. She called WHNT News 19 and we helped look for answers.

Gilliam said they began trying to resolve the issue on Friday. He said he certainly understands the frustration of workers who didn’t get paid on time.

“We wanted them to get what they’ve earned,” he said. “We see the other end of that. Whenever people aren’t working, aren’t receiving a paycheck, we’re the ones who are helping out with food and providing an emergency place to stay.”

On Tuesday Gilliam drove to the various bell ringer locations and gave those on duty a paycheck. Employees who weren’t ringing the bell came by the office and picked up their checks.

Gilliam said the Salvation Army office in Decatur will help provide Christmas for 500 families and toys for kids under 12 through its Angel Tree program.

Garland said she’s looked forward to being a bell ringer. While the delay was frustrating, she’s enjoyed the work and plans to continue through the holiday.

“I’ve had a lot of health issues, and I wanted to do something to stay active and to stay in a positive manner,” she said. “In humanity and in life force. And, I finally got it this year.”