FENIX fantasies get expensive

By From page A5 | March 21, 2014

EDITOR: Morris Blum again tells us (in his letter to the editor) our county government is wasting money on foolish computer projects. Thank you for keeping us informed, Morris. Morris mentioned a Feb. 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, so I and others watched the meeting video and talked to our computer friends about it.

The $5.6 million project he mentioned wasn’t the only questionable item on the agenda. How about the item that followed — where the supervisors are being told by some county employee named Russell that they should spend almost half a million of our tax dollars in order to save some real property information that’s stored in some ancient form on an ancient type mainframe computer? Did you catch that one too, Morris?

And what is all that stuff about four-digit numbers, Morris? There wasn’t any mention of that during the meeting, but I and others are curious. Tell us more. Gosh, my little pink laptop can handle bigger numbers than that.

Others tell me the county was supposed to get some off-the-shelf system that the county computer people shopped for and told the county to buy. But I heard a lot of discussion about all the changes to be made and how that might cost us taxpayers lots, maybe a million bucks per change. So what does off-the-shelf mean to the geniuses who told the supervisors to buy this system? That the system falls off the shelf and then the county spends millions to put the pieces back together? I thought it meant you walked into the computer store, bought the software in a shrink-wrapped package, took it home, put it on your computer and just ran it. So do my computer friends. And they know this stuff.

If these county employees can’t figure out how to take the information off that ancient computer and put it into a modern database, why not ask members of the public to help? My friends tell me they could do it. Maybe have a contest?

El Dorado Hills

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