TEA Winner, 2019: City of Surprise, AZ

Client Name: City of Surprise, Arizona
Number of Employees: 800 full time; 1,200 total
Population: 130,000
A Tyler Client Since: 2016
Website: https://www.surpriseaz.gov/


The city of Surprise is saving time and focusing on strategic projects thanks to automated processes in Munis®. Paper-based processes will slow down any organization, but for a city as large as the city of Surprise, the volume of timesheets, requests and approvals, and simply the distance between employees were making manual processing extremely time-consuming and creating a lot of room for error — both of which were costly to the city.

Prior to Munis, employees at the city were submitting hundreds of paper time cards each pay period that were then hand keyed into the system by payroll staff. Personnel Action Forms (PAF) were generated in a Word document by human resources (HR) staff and then used for data entry. And, staff members couldn’t enter pending actions without disrupting live legacy system data. Since there wasn’t a digital workflow approval process that held changes in a pending area, data entry mistakes were extremely problematic.

Open enrollment was a hectic time for the city’s HR staff and many had to drop all other priorities. Making changes to employee benefits was a particularly arduous task. An employee would complete paperwork, and then an HR staff member would enter the requested changes into the previous system and then into the carrier website. When something like an address changed occurred, HR staff would have to manually enter the change into multiple carrier website portals for FSA, dental, vision, and medical to ensure the change was reflected across the employee’s full collection of benefits.


The city implemented Munis in 2016. Collaborating with the implementation team from Tyler, key employees from the city’s finance, human resources, and payroll teams led the city toward digital processes.

The city immediately began using Munis Employee Self Service (ESS) for time entry, and to allow employees to make changes to their federal and state tax elections and direct deposit information. They also used ESS to bring their open enrollment processes online, making it easier for HR staff and employees to manage benefit changes.

Public sector employees are constantly being asked to do more with less. With the implementation of Munis, we have been able to meet this challenge by working smarter not harder.

Chris Edwards

Human Resources Information Systems Analyst

To eliminate duplicate data entry inherent in the previous process for qualifying events, the city’s HR team invested the time upfront to setup an 834 Enrollment File, which automatically sends employee changes to the insurance carriers and eliminates the need to manually update their systems. “It took some training and time to setup the 834 files, but it was totally worth it,” said Human Resources Information Systems Analyst Christine Edwards. “We learned all of the components of the 834 files, where the data pulls from Munis, and how to successfully run the files.”


With time entry happening online, the city’s payroll team is free from managing paper timesheets, which has resulted in improved efficiency, auditing abilities, and a more accurate payroll. “It’s great because now our payroll team has more time to perform other project work that advances the city’s goals,” said Edwards.

By leveraging ESS for open enrollment, the city has seen higher participation rates, less paperwork, and has spent far less time tracking people down to complete the benefits enrollment process. “In the first year with ESS benefits open enrollment, the city had a record participation rate of 94 percent,” commented Edwards.

Edwards described further, “Open enrollment used to require 10 HR employees, half of our team, focused exclusively on that process. Now, with ESS, we need only three staff members to manage the process from beginning to end.”

Along the same lines, the 834 files have saved the city significant staff time. Over the course of a year, the HR team processes roughly 200 new hire benefits onboarding or qualifying life events (QLEs). What used to take nearly 3,500 hours of staff time now takes around 1,700 hours. And, there is no longer a need to duplicate data entry into carrier websites; the 834 file takes care of that automatically.

The time savings realized from Munis has allowed the city to more appropriately delegate work tasks. It has also helped the city’s HR team reinforce its role as strategic partners to the executive team by showing investments in technology have a positive impact on achieving the organization’s overall goals and moving the city into the future. “Munis has offered functionality that has improved our processes, reduced errors, and saved staff time,” said Edwards.

Case Study Highlights

  • The City of Surprise is saving time thanks to new automated processes in Munis®.
  • The city has been able to break free from paper-based processes since moving to Munis.
  • City employees now have more time and energy to put into projects that really make a difference to the citizens they serve.

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