The new Legislative Audit Bureau report shows problems with the state government’s computer systems are due to poor planning, cost overruns, delays, and a lack of oversight.
State Representative Sue Jeskewitz (R-Menomonee Falls) says the results of the year-long review of 184 information technology projects show what she had figured half way through this six-year project. But, her questions remain the same.
“Why? Why? Why isn’t there better planning? Why don’t we set forth plans, set forth timelines, set forth expectations, before we start our projects?”
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee Co-Chair says this problem didn’t come overnight. She says we need project managers, for accountability, and the state should think about looking into new contractors. Jeskewitz says the Department of Administration, which was too busy with its own problems to address other problems, has lost credibility.
“And they’re the ones who are supposed to have the oversight over all the projects that are going on in the state – 184 projects – That’s a lot of projects. But if you are embedded in your own problems, how do you look to help the other agencies?”
Jeskewitz questions why there is no oversight committee for the IT projects. Also, Jeskewitz suggests looking at using “shelf” software programs and adapt them to agency needs, rather than create expensive customized state programs, which will quickly be outdated. She says the state should look at the Department of Revenue as an example, after having fixed its problems using shelf software.
What is an already cynical taxpayer to think after seeing this report? “They’re gonna be very angry. They’re gonna be very angry, because they’re gonna say ‘Once again we see government spending our money … badly.'”
LAB recommends that state agencies update the Joint Legislative Audit Committee on the status of each of the seven worst projects by October 1, 2007. Jeskewitz says it’s important to stay on top of this audit with a hearing, a follow-up hearing, and if needed, another follow-up hearing. Jeskewitz intends to hold a hearing with co-chair Jim Sullivan on Wednesday, May 2. (Pronounce Jeskewitz)