Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another Talking Point For Walker's Campaign

As Scott Walker gears up to start the next phase of his perpetual run for governor, he'll need a catchy slogan. Here's a suggestion:
Scott Walker: Just Like Jim Doyle, Only Worse
There has been lots of stories in the past year or two about the state, under Jim Doyle, investing tons of our money into computer systems that just don't work. Usually, these programs end up getting scrapped and things start all over again.

Things appear to be about the same just in Milwaukee County.

Today's local paper has a story about the problems that are still involved with the computer system that Walker wanted to handle the county's personnel issues and "streamline" things:

The county's Ceridian Human Resource Information System includes payroll, benefits and other employee data. The system was supposed to be completed more than three years ago. Most elements were working by the start of this year, but several functions remain a work in progress.

Missing information on employee job classifications in the Ceridian system means it won't be able to automatically notify laid-off employees of jobs to which they might be able to transfer. County officials have said they can do a manual review to determine seniority rights of laid-off employees, but District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says it may sue to stop layoffs until the computer work is done.

The computer system's inability to fully track seniority also is preventing some employees from scheduling their 2009 vacation time and affecting assignment of overtime, said District Council 48 President Richard Abelson.


AFSCME outlined 15 problems with the new system, including the lack of some job classification information, difficulty in tracking accrued vacation and overtime, and lack of reports on when employee evaluations are due. Officials reported a small number of employees whose paycheck amounts were wrong when the system first issued checks about a year ago.
It appears that Walker's been practicing in case he would get into the governor's mansion, so that he can immediately start buying programs that don't work and wasting money on a much grander scale.

But my favorite part is this (emphasis mine):

A report on the computer personnel system said it cost about $4.5 million for development, or $1.1 million over the original budget. Operating costs through 2010 bring the overall price tag to about $10 million. Because it took two years longer than expected to get the system in place, some money originally pegged for running the system was shifted to the higher development costs, said county Auditor Jerome Heer.

Turnover of several key county managers contributed to delays in installing the computer system, Heer told the Personnel Committee. Heads of the county's personnel and information technology departments left during the project development.

The hiring of another private firm to act as project manager helped get the system back on track, Heer said. That added $831,000 to the project cost, a report says.

Trifecta: A computer system that is overbudget and still not working, delays being caused by lots of staff turnover, and hiring a second private firm to manage the first private firm.

Ah, yes, your tax dollars at work, folks.

Of course, given the current state of the State, maybe Walker would be a natural fit. It sure would be hard to tell the difference. The only difference is that Doyle at least seems to care about the people he was elected to represent, even if you don't agree with the way he does it.

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