Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

County late analyzing software

EDITOR:

I watched the Board of Supervisors on Monday interview county staff for hours about the new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that the county blew $5.6 million on before actually doing a proper feasibility analysis to see if the software system would actually accommodate the county’s needs. I wasn’t sure if I was watching a comedy or a financial tragedy in the making. It appears that the county CAO jumped the gun and completely underestimated this new ERP computer system, as she failed to do the proper needs assessment, feasibility studies and system analysis prior to spending $5.6 million on this software.

The county bought a $5.6 million piece of software and just now found out that the eight-digit account numbers that the county uses can now only be four digits long, a limitation of the software. County Auditor Joe Harn, CPA, stated that his department was looking at how they might truncate all of the county’s longer account numbers to accommodate this system. Visions of the Abacus went through my head in response to this comment. A $5.6 million ERP software system that cannot handle more than a four-digit account number? Are you kidding me? Joe Harn also stated that they are trying to determine how the county can use the software provider’s General Ledger system after the county already bought it.

Harn stated that they are “doing business process analysis now.” He stated that there is not nearly enough county professional staffing for an ERP system implementation. Harn wants to hire three CPAs and $2.8 million more in interim professionals to implement this software (not estimated originally).

Joe Harn states that there are lots of hurdles to overcome in determining the tons of gray areas about the software implementation. While I find it commendable that Harn is in contact with Marin County to see what things he and his staff can learn from its $60 million failed ERP implementation, that system was a completely different Oracle-based system. Perhaps if the county really wants to find out the failings of the software it already purchased it should contact Ventura County, who sued Tyler Technologies for a system that had failures and did not deliver. Joe Harn also stated that he and his staff are trying to “steal information from Mendocino County about how to best implement Tyler Technologies software,” also a commendable approach that should have been taken before committing $5.6 million.

Harn went on to describe the implementation process as driving a car and “putting the car in high gear, slam on brakes, put it in reverse and then drive it off a cliff.” Mr. Harn’s analogy of a white-knuckle software implementation ride reminded me of another similar story. I remember a large company that had purchased a $12 million SAP ERP software system and attempted to implement it on one of the company’s divisions with the simplest and easiest processes as to be assured of success. I also remember being told over a year later that they could take all the work they did for a year, place it on a card table, light a match to it and start all over again. I hope this is not what is going to occur with El Dorado.

I am pleased that Joe Harn is talking to Marin County about its failed $60 million ERP system and Mendocino that is supposedly running the Tyler software on how to get up and running, but what I heard Monday was Joe Harn trying to be politically correct and hold back some choice words that he probably really wanted to say. It really seems like the county CAO Terri Daly really put the cart before the horse on this one.

MORRIS BLUM
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 32 comments

  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 3:19 pm

    The county should have listened to the bloggers on here--we did the research and shared it. We are not surprised...read. Hopefully they are reading more--because of this...remember five years from signing in on the New Economy...I worry about people...read.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    U N B E L I E V A B L E

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    I take it back, Fran. BELIEVABLE. A rhetorical question: Does this boondoggle result from INCOMPETENCE or CORRUPTION?

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 3:53 pm

    The buck stops . . . guess where? Last I heard, Vern Pierson, our District Attorney, is in charge of the County's IT system. And for this he's being paid an extra (I forget exactly) $100K?

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 3:58 pm

    We tried to tell them Evelyn...it is now falling apart--unless they stop it before it moves too far.

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    I myself put out so many links from across the USA...links dealing with this issue--this company. Tag words used many times--land rights...mining...grants...come on--read. Hiring people from different places that had problems from where they came from. Warning signs...Bikes and trails...advisory committees, roundabouts, closed forests (huge fires) Places going bankrupt. Many of us placed it out front--yet it is all being followed to a tee...it can still be stopped--the Sheriff is on the right track.. this is not a theory--it is a reality. I told many that I would be shaking my head at the end--saying I told you so. Stop the progression of the destruction of El Dorado County..Dont give up your guns. Dont give up any land. Dont give up your rights. Do not trust "grants"--they come at a price. Stack n packs. pftt READ

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    This is the self-same IT system given the blessing of county notables • Sheriff John D’Agostini • District Attorney/IT Director Vern Pierson • Recorder-Clerk Bill Schultz • Surveyor Rich Briner • Assessor Karl Weiland • CAO Terri Daly • Asst CAO Kim Kerr • Chamber of Commerce Director Laurel Brent-Bumb • Michael Ranalli, CEDAC • Former Supervisor Jack Sweeney

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 4:47 pm

    LINK to "Supes OK $5.6M new financial system. CHECK OUT THE COMMENTS.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    A bunch of important people who wanted a new IT system seemed to think that wanting it somehow equated to technical ANALYSIS. And the Board took their grand HURRAH as sufficient No wonder out County is being run to the ground.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 4:54 pm

    More HERE ("CAO’s expensive software plan")

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 4:57 pm

    BTW: Thank you, Morris Blum, for your letter.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieJune 26, 2013 - 5:09 pm

    Evelyn -- and thank you for the link down that memory lane. Arghhh!

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 5:09 pm

    Evelyn--your research was "tight"--you told them...proved it...re-proved it. someone knows that you are right...hopefully they will help--before it is too late...maybe someone that was fooled...will realize they were taken advantage of and get really mad. But your research was solid. I admire your neutral perspective in researching.

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  • Phil VeerkampJune 26, 2013 - 5:16 pm

    Hmmm . . .On Friday, May 24th Ty Robben puts the heat on Vern . . . http://www.mtdemocrat.com/print/?edition=2013-05-24&esection=A&esection_page=1 Ty Robben keeps up the heat on Vern with forum commenting . . . http://www.mtdemocrat.com/news/man-protests-corruption-outside-courthouse-das-office/comment-page-1/#comment-719878 Then Vern puts the heat on Nutting . . . http://www.mtdemocrat.com/print/?edition=2013-05-29&esection=A&esection_page=1 Now the heat returns to Vern? Is there a common thread here?

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  • Nevada WatchDogJune 27, 2013 - 2:10 pm

    Interesting that the State of Nevada blew $50 million on a cluge IT Taxation system from Accenture....

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  • Sue TaylorJune 26, 2013 - 5:23 pm

    From April 20, 2013: If a system has worked for over 25 years doing a particular task why is it suddenly obsolete? Has the task changed? Do we suddenly have too many county employees making 6 figures and it’s crashing the system? As far as I can tell those making the decision to overhaul have no experience in Information Technology (IT). I’ve talked to some of the guys in IT; there is NOT a PROBLEM that they can’t deal with… I agree with cookie – those that have made this decision should take financial responsibility when the project goes south, if on the other hand it works, I’ll be truly surprised.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 5:23 pm

    Fran: You are a wonderful born optimist. Regrettably, I believe that the same people responsible for this mess will be polished up a bit and will continue to thrive. They are among their "peers" and will be protected.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 5:26 pm

    Place your bets, ladies. How many YEARS and how much MONEY will this project take? I kick off with 5 years and $45 million.

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  • Sue TaylorJune 26, 2013 - 5:27 pm

    So if someone goes to audit all the records from the Auditor's office and they have somehow been scrambled by the attempt to update by a so called necessary process... hummm, not sure if that will happen here, but I've been told that they are still trying to untangle the financial mess our Asst. CAO left in the City of Ione because of their new I.T. System... just sayin' By the way I asked Karl Weiland who will be taking responsibility when this thing fails. He said I guess the D.A.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 5:33 pm

    Karl Weiland "guesses" the DA? Hah!!! Can you imagine Terri Daly sticking it to the DA? Furgetaboutit.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    Sue: Remind me, 'cause I've lost track of bits of info. But wasn't it Mental Health that managed to lose $7 million a few years back because of "computer problems"? Please tell me I'm wrong. (Did the Mt. Dem. ever run a story on that financial glitch?) Kind of scary. What if multiple departments suffer such glitches?

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 7:00 pm

    I say 80 million...and it will become obsolete before its completed.

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  • Nevada WatchDogJune 27, 2013 - 2:13 pm

    Vern Pierson is the District Attorney - AND IT Director too??? $$$

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  • EvelynJune 28, 2013 - 1:37 pm

    Nevada WatchDog: Yep!!!

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  • EvelynJune 28, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    Morris Blum: Having just finished watching the relevant video section of Monday's Budget Meeting, I wish to thank you for the very accurate account, related in your (as yet unpublished) LTE. You obviously are well acquainted with the subject matter. For anyone interested, the video of the 6/24/2013 BOS meeting is HERE. The IT input begins at about 01:54:50, becoming especially interesting from 02:38:52 and again at 02:40:45 (Joe Harn).

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 7:03 am

    Does "we told you so" apply?

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  • cookie65July 12, 2013 - 7:04 am

    "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." -Thomas Sowell

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  • twshovelJuly 12, 2013 - 10:01 pm

    lest some forget Harn was part of the team that initially endorsed this system.

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  • Ex IT GuyJuly 13, 2013 - 12:45 am

    Harn is really the culprit here! He's in charge of this gravely dysfunctional county. He put his little crony, Verne, in charge of IT and he isn't even a Good DA! From hiring Jim Bourey (lasted six months and cost the county $200K) to the current ERP fiasco, mr Harn has wasted (including litigation costs') between 7 to 8 million dollars! Wake up EDC taxpayers ! Joe continues to screw up this county (among others ;) )...

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  • sunshineJuly 13, 2013 - 11:50 am

    This is how the mighty "Super Bunny" Joe Harn is saving the taxpayers of El Dorado County. As a crusader of the down trodened taxpayer he will save us from those beaurocrates. WHAT A LAUGH!

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  • well now . . . . . . . . . . .July 18, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    . . . . . . . . the county's beloved wonderful supercalafragalisticexpialadocious $5.6 new computer system seems to have hit a tinsy weensy glitch. Ask Vern Pierson what he knows about it. He's in charge, ain't he?

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  • EvelynJuly 23, 2013 - 12:47 pm

    Back in March when signing the Tyler Technologies contract CAO Terri Daly spoke of getting "a bigger bang for the taxpayers’ buck". But yesterday at Taxpayers Daly conveyed the impression that the "bang" now sounds more like a whimper. The County now seems to be conducting some "investigations".

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