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Outdated Computer Systems Threaten State Services

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In 1991, 100 staffers maintained the system. Now there are four, all of whom are expected to be retired by 2014, said Todd Olson, chief financial officer of the OIT department, which manages COFRS.

Except for the Department of Transportation and state colleges and universities, every state agency relies on COFRS for daily accounting. The system processed about $36 billion in expenditures and $34 billion in revenues in fiscal year 2010, according to the audit. An average of 300,000 financial documents went through the system each month that year.

A crash would stop checks being sent to state vendors. Officials would be unable to conduct inventory processing, including programs that monitor food inventories at state prisons. Â It would be impossible for the state to know its true financial position at a given point in time.

OIT hopes to recruit people who know the system or train staff to replace retiring employees. The department also plans to make a pitch for funding from the Legislature for the next fiscal year, 2013, to start an upgrade, Olson said. He said OIT officials hope the audit will help their cause.

Persuading lawmakers could be a tough sell in a year where millions more in budget cuts are expected, including reductions to already battered K-12 education.

“The problem with IT is it’s not very tangible,” Olson said. “You’re talking millions and hundreds of millions of dollars and they look at you and wonder, legitimately, what it is they’re getting for their money, and how do you convey that to them? But yet, conversely, if disaster happens, you know what the impact is unfortunately then.”

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Oct 1st, 2011 and filed under Literature & Electronic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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