FENIX drifting in wind

By From page A7 | August 15, 2014


A long overdue and postponed update on the county’s ailing FENIX $5.6 million computer system was given at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

According to the county staff’s own report, the project is being re-engineered on the fly with a multitude of changes — 23 change orders so far to a single software module that has yet to pass testing. Staff brags about four changes Tyler is not charging for, but no one wants to talk about 19 other change orders and unknown future costs the county will incur. Nor do they want to talk about the hundreds of future change orders that will be attributable to other software modules not yet installed that will need to be customized and was purchased without any systems analysis — thank you Daly.

Tyler and county staff are still doing analysis and modifying the system to comply with California laws. Shouldn’t the county have bought software that complies with California law? County staff, Daly and Kerr, are getting 15 percent pay increases to poorly manage this project where only one module has been installed and tested in a vacuum. There is no real schedule and the timeline of deliverables is slipping. According to staff, several Tyler software analysts were not up to par and fired and the county recently lost a project manager. More excuses. A previous update told us the contracted employees were jumping from the ship like rats to become high-paid county bureaucrats. The FENIX updates to the board are starting to resemble a smoke and mirrors presentation, but soon may resemble a costly visit to the carnival fun house.

The county’s IT director stated there are no cost savings from this software project. What? Terri Daly told the Board of Supervisors in her previous update this software would save the county $10 million per year in staffing costs. Daly’s purported $10 million was apparently derived from fantasy land.

There has been little thought given to historical data retention of old county records and the potential for loss of these historical records. Also missing is any type of a published schedule that shows whether or not the county is on track with this massive expenditure. Typically a GANTT chart, CPM or PERT type of scheduling would be used to monitor the schedule and track the progress, but it appears the bureaucrats don’t want to have their performance tracked, just the pay increases please.

While staff bureaucrats like to tell the board they are on time and budget while garnering a 15 percent pay increase for working on the project, nothing could be further from the truth. Something doesn’t smell right and the public isn’t buying it. The IT director stated at this meeting, “As with any modifications to the scope of a project, the cost and timeline has to change. We set an aggressive timeline to ‘go live’ March 2015 and with the changes we are looking at, in conjunction with our current processes, we are moving the go live date for the financial system to October 2015 and the HR/Payroll go live to Jan. 1, 2016. This timeline modification will be reflected as a contract modification for payment milestones.”

The public needs to hold Terri Daly’s feet to the fire. She charged ahead and bought this $5.6 million software with taxpayer money on a whim without doing the proper research and analysis. Taxpayers want to see a system that works and the $10 million-a-year savings Daly promised.


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