I-Team Waste Watch: Secretary of State computers
Updated: Monday, July 30 2012, 06:55 PM EDT
(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Newschannel 3 I-Team is on Waste Watch tonight, looking into the state's paying millions of dollars for a new computer system that critics say just doesn't work right.
In fact, the I-Team found the state has paid nearly 80 percent of the project's $35 million cost to upgrade computer systems in the Secretary of State's Office.
Despite that, we found that only a small portion of the system is working for taxpayers right now.
Taxpayers were promised for years that the new systems would work well, and that as soon as someone paid for their auto registration--online or in person--the Secretary of State would automatically update then and there.
It was said that this would give the taxpayer full credit immediately before their registration ran out.
Allegedly, new computers would stop the lag in updating.
The project itself was supposed to make it easy for people to renew licenses and registrations online--but took six years to go live.
A new report from the State Auditor General shows major problems, however.
Auditors found a host of issues, from State Department leaders not working well together to meet goals, to high turnover in leadership contributing to problems, to state leaders not penalizing contractors for meeting deadlines, and finally that the state didn't ensure a fair bidding process.
Much of the blame is being pointed at former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who said some of the people outside of her department weren't capable of getting the job done.
As a result, Senator Rick Jones is calling for a potential criminal investigation to find who's responsible for wasting money on software that didn't work, and who may have lied to lawmakers about scope and cost of what was required.
Senator Jones wants new legislation passed to put high performance standards on all major technology projects, so contractors are held to their promises.
It is currently possible to get one's license and registration renewed online though, but leaders say even that is largely incomplete because it's not yet updated in real-time to reflect payments.