Customs will e-mail personnel change info

Customs will e-mail personnel change info

The Customs Service will retire its decades-old SF-50 personnel action form in October.
The Human Resources Office uses the form to notify employees of promotions, pay raises and other personnel actions.

Come the fall, the service will notify employees of job actions via e-mail, said Barbara Zakrison, director of HR systems at Customs. The form's data will be gathered using a paperless personnel system that Customs brought online in 1998, she said.

The move will cut paper and mailing costs, and employees will get personnel information more quickly than before, Zakrison said. Customs will be able to eliminate printing, filing and distributing about 60,000 SF-50s each year.

Biweekly updates

The personnel system is a Cobol application that runs on an IBM Corp. mainframe. To tap the application, the HR Office staff uses Pentium PCs running either Microsoft Windows 95 or NT and using Open Database Connectivity.

To maintain its HR records, Customs must share data with the Agriculture Department's National Finance Center in New Orleans, which handles many payroll and financial processing services for the agency. Customs receives a flat file of the SF-50 data biweekly from the center, said Carol Cuddihy, a computer specialist at Customs.

The data is stored in a Computer Associates International Inc. CA-Datacom database table. The CA-Datacom database contains the cumulative SF-50 records since the inception of the project, providing Customs with backup data if it should need it for recovery purposes.

The Cobol app will flag employees' records for printing and e-mail notification based on new actions to the files. The app can extract employee name and e-mail data and automatically forward the information to employees via the service's Lotus Notes messaging system.

Now, SF-50 forms are printed twice: The first printout is sent to the employee and the second to HR for filing, Cuddihy said.

Annually, the agency will still use postal mail to send each employee a transcript of all job actions taken during the year, Zakrison said.

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