Archive for Sunday, July 15, 2012

County treasurer agrees with need for audit of DMV switchover

July 15, 2012


Douglas County Treasurer Paula Gilchrist said she agrees with the decision by a legislative committee to launch an audit into what went wrong with the Kansas Department of Revenue’s $40 million computer upgrade of the system that handles motor vehicle tags and renewals.

Like several other counties, Douglas County has experienced long lines and frustrated customers dealing with the new system.

“Our staff has worked very, very hard to get us to a place where we are not overwhelmed with problems,” said Gilchrist.

In a recent 5-3 vote, the Legislative Post Audit Committee approved looking into implementation of what is called the Department of Motor Vehicles Modernization Project.

The $40 million contract with 3M Co. to replace an aging motor vehicles mainframe system has produced many complaints.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, called the switchover a disaster. Kelly said she knows of people who have had to take days off from work to wait in line to get their vehicle tags.

“That is unacceptable,” she said.

Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan acknowledged there have been problems and said the agency is working to correct them. He noted that the department has withheld its final payment from 3M until improvements are made to the program.

But Jordan also indicated some of the problem may have been because officials in some counties didn’t avail themselves to enough training on the new system.

Douglas County Treasurer Gilchrist disagreed, saying many problems have arisen that had nothing to do with training.

She said she believed the state did not test the system enough before implementing it in May.

And she said some of the programs weren’t working.

“There were records in the old system that didn’t transfer over to the new system. We had to take the time to log into two or three systems and re-create your record,” she said.

Several members of the committee voted against the audit saying it wouldn’t be completed until April 2013, long after the system is finally implemented.

“I understand the concern — I’m just questioning what benefit it would provide for the Legislature and for the citizens of Kansas,” state Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said.

Kelly said she wasn’t trying to point fingers but thought an audit would help in future computer system switchovers.

“This will provide a road map the next time we make a radical transition from one program to another,” she said.

Gilchrist said a study would provide some explanation to citizens.

“I think the taxpayers are going to want to understand why this happened,” she said.


werekoala 5 years, 8 months ago

"Naw, darlin', we don' need one o' them fancy-pants AWW-dites, folks will think we's puttin' on airs. Plus, if we make the DMV efficient and transparent, what are we gonna use as a bogeyman in the health care debate?"

-This moment of fiscal responsibility brought to you by Tyro, KS, and the Grand Old Party.

headdoctor 5 years, 8 months ago

That is funny. I thought the boogieman in the case of the Kansas DMV was Kobach crying the illegal aliens are voting.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 8 months ago

Yup. That's been my first thought all along. That the software was hurried so as to be in place for this year's primary and who cared if it didn't work worth a hoot.

And my first thought in response to the votes against the audit was that perhaps that is the reason certain Republican state representatives voted against it?

Apparently it hasn't crossed their minds that an audit might get us some of that $40 million back? I mean, a glitch or two is to be expected...but this has been ridiculous!

kansanbygrace 5 years, 8 months ago

No competent manager of a system would ever consider initiating change-over until the new system had been thoroughly--exhaustively--shaken down.

The only excuse for this debacle is that the people managing the process are not competent for that authority.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

Inquiring minds want to know if this was done purposely---or through gross negligence.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 8 months ago

They may be competent, but if the client insists on taking a beta system into production, the vendor can't refuse. Brownback and Kobach wanted it up so they could stop those ravening hordes of illegal voters we've all heard about (and never seen). That's why we don't hear Kobach crying about the broken system and its problems. That's why we don't see Kobach making any effort to ensure at risk voters are walked through the process of getting IDs. The whole point of this exercise is to reduce the number of voters in November and not to prevent voter fraud.

tomatogrower 5 years, 8 months ago

"Brownback and Kobach wanted it up so they could stop those ravening hordes of illegal voters we've all heard about (and never seen)."

I've always guessed that they got elected with illegal votes.

deskboy04 5 years, 8 months ago

Rep. Peck doesn't think an audit will be beneficial. That's reason enough to do one.

ihg 5 years, 8 months ago

What a disaster from the start! I believe it is gross negligence and the powers that be should all be fired and lets start with Revenue Secretary Nick Jordan for his typical politician answer in blaming the little guy (county clerks). Why wouldn't you beta test in a smaller county thoroughly to find out what the problems are instead of converting the whole state at once. Wow, we have such smart people running the DMV!!!

ihg 5 years, 8 months ago

Several members of the committee voted against the audit saying it wouldn’t be completed until April 2013, long after the system is finally implemented. Oh no we wouldn't want it to come out which top official was in charge of this debacle.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 8 months ago

To be fair, how many people at work have been told IT was going to upgrade software and computers would be down for a couple of hours only for something to go wrong and be days?

sciencegeek 5 years, 8 months ago

As soon as they announced that systems would be down for a WEEK to convert records, the handwriting was on the wall. That kind of downtime is unheard of. It's also obvious that testing was inadequate. These are the kind of issues that should delay the implementation date; better late than broke. Why it was rushed through when it wasn't ready to go live is a question for Secretary Jordan--and blaming it on everyone else isn't an answer.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

"That kind of downtime is unheard of."

Wouldn't have been allowed any place I've worked, private or public. A few hours at most.

ksrover 5 years, 8 months ago

“I understand the concern — I’m just questioning what benefit it would provide for the Legislature and for the citizens of Kansas,”

How about a class-action lawsuit!??!
There were hundreds, if not thousands of people that were adversely affected by this change.
- How many people had to take time off of work to deal with this?
- How many businesses lost man-hours of work?
Not to mention the parking fees and fines that the counties charged!

And it is NOT just the software change that is the problem. Try contacting someone at the KDOR department of titles and registrations. You can't get through on the phone, they do not respond to emails, and when you do get to talk to someone, they can't give any information and will not call you back (even though they say they will).

If this were any other company, people would have taken their business elsewhere. But we don't have that option. Kansas residents are being held hostage by this incompetence. Both in the management of this software change AND by the employees at KDOR that are supposed to be here to help.

deec 5 years, 8 months ago

I wonder how many fewer employees work there since the present administration took over? Between layoffs, reorganizations and early retirement, I'd bet they have a LOT less employees than they used to. They also are working with the same defective computer programs as the local counties.

This is what smaller for-profit government looks like.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

Supposedly, when there is a fiasco, one tries to figure out what happened, so as to prevent it from happening again.

When the fiasco is this large---and could have the consequence of disallowing people to vote---there is a good chance lawsuits will ensue.

Either Rep. Peck isn't too bright or he wants to hide something---or both.

What deec said: "This is what smaller for-profit government looks like."

I would add that in the long run it costs us more.

verity 5 years, 8 months ago

While a good idea, before you do it---

1 Check with the county gov't where you're going---many smaller towns only have the office open on certain days. While you're doing that, check on the current wait time there.

2 Make double sure you have all the needed documents with you.

I renewed my driver's license in a fairly small town and had to wait for maybe an hour and a half---and that was last fall before the current fiasco. The beleaguered person at the desk was trying to make the wait more endurable by being very friendly and funny, which actually made it more annoying, but have to give her credit for trying.

I renewed my tag at the same courthouse the last day in April and the last day the office was open until after the advent of the new computer system (my fault for forgetting to do it earlier). The wait again was around an hour and a half---made longer by people not being prepared and more inconvenient by people apparently needing to be supported in their endeavor by a number of friends and/or family members.

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