August 14, 2013

Committee holds hearing on payroll mistakes

BY JIM MILLER | The Press-Enterprise

A Senate budget panel Thursday will examine how a much-needed overhaul of the state’s payroll system came in years behind schedule and massively over-budget — and then failed to work.

“I’m looking forward to getting to the bottom of what happened and why and to make sure…it doesn’t happen again,” said state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, the chairman of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee’s general government subcommittee.

The new payroll system debuted last summer on a limited basis. Errors in pay, deductions and benefits continued for months and Controller John Chiang pulled the plug in February.

A report Monday by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes said the controller’s office sugar-coated the project’s problems and issued updates to legislators that “often only hinted at the turmoil churning within the project.” The controller’s office, meanwhile, has pointed the finger at SAP.

“The public deserves to have us spend the public’s money efficiently and effectively and the Senate Office of Oversight report certainly suggests that did not happen in this case,” Roth said.

The payroll system is the latest example of a botched state computer project.

“We need to figure out how to get IT right in the state of California,” Roth said.


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