Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » Today’s number: $2 million
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Today’s number: $2 million

Friday, Mar 28, 2014

* From an Illinois Auditor General’s report on the State Employees’ Retirement System

During our examination we noted that there were problems with the Modernization - Re-Engineering Project.

The project has been ongoing for five years, is only 20% complete, and over $2,000,000 has been expended by the State Retirement Systems collectively.

Due to staffing issues and the lack of a project management framework and the associated documentation, the project has not been fully implemented. In addition, formal documentation to provide detailed information on the current status and projected completion date is lacking.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:35 am:

    Ongoing for 5 years and 20% complete…

    That is one way government is different, unless you are developing an OS or something in the private sector you can’t do a technology project over 5 years (no less be looking at a 25 year completion time frame at the current rate).

    Technology changes too much, heck even the ‘frameworks’ the audit references change over that period of time.

    Would be interested to see what the project scope and goals are (assuming they exist).


  2. - Weltschmerz - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:36 am:

    How do you start a project without a Preliminary System Design and who approved it?


  3. - Weltschmerz - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    OneMan - You couldn’t do it in my state division when I was there.


  4. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    Five years.
    No project management framework.
    No project management framework documentation.
    Project not fully implemented.
    No formal documentation to review regarding project status.
    No projected completion date.

    Holy mother of all things holy!

    It must be agonizing to work in the auditor general’s office and cover this kind of mismanagement, incompetence and maladministration.

    Disgraceful!


  5. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    ==you can’t do a technology project over 5 years==

    I’ve seen my fair share of technology projects take several years to complete. It’s generally due to lack of staff, turnover of staff, lack of funding, and the convoluted contracting process that government must go through (i.e when you get through the process the technology you were going for may have been replaced by something a little better). I was involved in a technology procurement that took more than a year to complete from beginning to end.


  6. - PMcP - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    To be honest, depending on the system they’re on and the system they’re upgrading to, long change windows are going to happen. I’m assuming they’re still on an IBM OS (which IBM hasn’t been updated since the 90s) so those things take a while since you’re skipping generations of intermediate technology and the data sources aren’t easily convertible to Windows/Unix environments.

    That being said, you’d expect them to be near completion at this point, the five year window itself shouldn’t be too surprising, assuming the technology is as outdated as I’m guessing it is.


  7. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Demoralized,

    Well then you are one up on me, 20 years in the industry and never saw anything take more than about 18 months (nothing even close to 5 years) and the 18 months was a complete redesign of a software package we sold.

    Even using this example, odds are your hardware specs have had to have been at least twice in 5 years. Your target OS will have likely gone through 2 major versions. If you are doing a web app you would have seen the option of the cloud come into play. If you are using a DB technology you would be on your third major version of most of the popular DB platforms in that time.

    Bottom line IMHO the audit makes sense if you are 5 years in and 20% done project planning at this point is likely like trying to nail jello to the wall.


  8. - PublicServant - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:53 am:

    Really hard to tell here. “Due to staffing issues…” means what exactly? A certain level of documentation is necessary, but in and of itself documentation, if not maintained, over time always becomes, well…a lie.

    Demoralized has it right.


  9. - cod - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    Honest pension reform would have addressed problems like this, instead of reneging on retiree’s pension contracts.

    Real reform has still not been done, but it is really needed to protect pensions from plunder.


  10. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    Have to agree with Demoralized & COD on this. Been thru a fairly successful State “Re-engineering” project and have been in programs & agencies where projects stalled because the key people left, legislators or the “the Feds” or Gov’s office/central administration kept changing the parameters or the legislators or Gov;s office choked off the funding. The best comparison would be to the Navy’s procurement of new multi-function “brown water” ships, in which the specs and expected outcomes are constantly being revised. This is almost certainly NOT a “buy a new computer system & install it” technology project.


  11. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    OneMan, this is one of the differences between government and the private sector. Demoralized accurately states the issues that I’ve experienced as well. I was frustrated by it, but that is the way it is. Shortly before I retired, there was an IT project the director wanted to be completed in six months. Almost two years later, that project still has not been completed. Sad, but the results of the staff shortage and other factors mentioned by Demoralized.


  12. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    @OneMan:

    I was just providing my personal experiences. Some get done quickly. Others don’t.


  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:33 am:

    Look at that again guys.

    This isn’t about spending $2 million on a project that is five years old.

    This is about spending $2 million on a project over the past five years that hasn’t even been given a project management framework!

    This is like spending $2 million on a house that hasn’t a blueprint, a contractor, or clue.

    This is shameful.


  14. - Walker - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:34 am:

    One Man, Norseman, Demoralized, et al, clearly right to criticize.

    Only specific I might add, is that I read “staffing problems and project management” to mean that the best tech people and project managers have been RIFed or turned over, as the number of state employees has dramatically shrunk in the same time period.

    I’ve heard that complaint in more than one state department. Great idea, almost no people to do it.


  15. - RetiredStateEmployee - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Actually, the IT problems go back much further. I was there in 2005 and the in house system was so far out of date, there was no IBM support. They were beginning to convert the obsolete mainframe system to a PC system. There have been management problems even further back. No money for staff, no money for training and no money for upgraded hardware. I can’t believe it has taken this long for someone to notice the problems with this agency.


  16. - Sunshine - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    Take a look at some of the “old” system software still in place at DHS. A primary vendor, IBM, has created a nearly unsolvable situation in several agencies by their control and lack of focused and planned technology change.

    Top programmers have left or are leaving. What is happening at SERS isn’t at all unusual as it is like starting over every year. Long term technology planning in government is difficult at best; New rules, new programs, new platforms, new ideas from uninformed politicians, and no money.

    At least their investing for retirees appears to be doing moderately well.


  17. - RetiredContractor - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    After 15 years in the private sector, I was on contract to the state for a major project. Our first meeting with the state employees maintaining the current state system was a real shocker. One systems analyst spoke up that there was no need to change anything, she only had 13 years until she retired. Some of the other state employees agreed with her. These were IT staff! I was totally floored and found out later that they were only starting to do something because of the auditor general’s report of their current system. Their system was already a dinosaur and they stalled us at every opportunity. State management never supported the project. The project dragged on forever (or it just seemed like it.) I finally had enough and left.


  18. - DuPage - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    Where did the $2,000,000 come from? Did they take it out of SERS pension fund money?


  19. - Jack Handy - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    An auditor general’s report does not have the same impact on goverment union employees as a simple status report does to private sector employees.

    This will continue for another few years and then will probably be abandoned.


  20. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    If there was a staffing problem, where did the $$ go.


  21. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Knowing only what I’ve read in the news part of the post, this isn’t surprising. The State of California had trouble with their retirement system upgrade.
    http://blogs.sacbee.com/the_state_worker/2011/11/calpers-retirement-benefits-computers-pensions.html

    The Feds have tried, and failed, since the Reagan Administration to upgrade their system.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/03/22/sinkhole-of-bureaucracy/

    Whatever other problems there were, government pensions, by their very nature, are difficult to write software for because of all the legislative “addons” that make programming very difficult. From the WaPo link: “The task takes so much time in part because Congress has made the federal retirement rules extremely complex.”


  22. - flea - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    not surprising …CMS is in the lead on this project, right?


  23. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Vanilla Man: “This is about spending $2 million on a project over the past five years that hasn’t even been given a project management framework!
    This is like spending $2 million on a house that hasn’t a blueprint, a contractor, or clue. This is shameful.”

    No, this is reality when you have to deal with different Governors bringing in different staff, changing agency directors with completely different “visions”, revolving door bureau/division management, and so on. Add to that Federal agencies (if your program is substantially Federally funded) who are pushing you to install a system that was developed for a substantially different state legal and operational structure and demand compliance with security protocols that are altogether different from what other Fed agencies are demanding, and all of which are difficult to reconcile with what CMS is trying to implement …

    In other words, you’re dealing with six different blueprints which are being revised annually by 3 different architects, and you’re dealing with 5 contractors, each of whom insists that he is the prime contractor.


  24. - Gantt Chart - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    No, Flea…this one can’t be blamed on CMS. SERS has their own IT braintrust running the show.


  25. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Curmudgeon, your point is often valid, but I don’t think that fact pattern applies here.

    SERS has historically run a pretty lean staff, particularly in the areas not directly related to providing the pensions. That thrift, coupled with having to go through CMS and let us not forget all the pension law changes since 2009 that would impact IT, likely put them in this jam.

    Good folks running that shop. They just need a few more hands on deck.


  26. - Fiercely Independent - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    Curmudgeon

    SERS is not under the Governor


  27. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    My Bad. Retract the part “about having to go through CMS.”


  28. - Fiercely Independent - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Arthur Andersen

    Not being under the Governor’s office, SERS is not required to go through CMS for everything. They may be doing it, but they don’t have to.


  29. - Curmudgeon - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 2:36 pm:

    Yeah, I realize SERS isn’t under the Governor (for which I give thanks!), but when I wrote that response, I was thinking of state agency projects I’ve been involved in and gov’t projects IN GENERAL, be they high tech, low tech, or no tech involved at all.


  30. - Interesting priorities - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    At least the project managers aren’t eating sandwiches at their desk, because they’d have to do something about that waste.
    https://capitolfax.com/2012/05/30/inspector-general-clouseau-strikes-again/


  31. - Confused - Friday, Mar 28, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    Is this agency building a pension application from scratch? There are pension software packages!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Former 'Chicago Tonight' host Elizabeth Brackett has died
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* DHFS interim director chosen to replace Norwood
* Blandford named Executive Mansion Curator
* M-E Dems back Madigan's handling of #MeToo allegations
* The Cook County-est news items of the week
* Stones, glass houses, etc.
* THIS JUST IN: Tabares to become to new 23rd Ward alderman
* P. Scott Neville, Jr. sworn in as Illinois Supreme Court justice
* *** UPDATED 3x *** Rauner claims unpaid bills at $10B when he took office
* CAPTION CONTEST!
* Rauner's office responds to flood waters questions
* McCann talks supporting Trump, Rauner buying GOP
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


* Savanna-Sabula bridge dedicated to honor local .....
* Rauner pledges $5000 to Freedom Run..
* Rauner to consider allowing medical cannabis fo.....
* Illinois pharmacies pushing for more data on Me.....
* Aurora holds first-ever pride parade..
* All systems go for a celebration: Governor join.....
* Aurora's First Pride Celebration..
* Illinois to fund Medicaid preventive dental ser.....
* Aurora's 1st Pride Parade draws thousands..
* Anderson & Halpin maintain Illinois budget .....


* Midwestern states endure flash flooding, heat wave
* New organization that honors black firefighters to open
* Rauner names curator for newly remodeled governor's mansion
* William Shatner captains bitcoin mining farm in Illinois
* Peoria man killed in auto race in Canada
* Plan would turn old Illinois library into craft distillery
* Chicago is in for a dangerously hot day
* EXCHANGE: Community reacts after college announces closing
* EXCHANGE: Business club to end so charities can get checks
* Parkland students, activists registering voters in Chicago

* Rauner to consider allowing medical cannabis for opioid patients
* Bipartisan work yields gun bills, fate rests with Rauner
* Rauner names Justin Blandford curator of Governor's Mansion
* Rauner names Williamsville woman interim HFS director
* Both Rauner and Pritzker have donated to Mansion renovations
* Both candidates for governor have donated to Mansion renovations
* Illiopolis boy helps push bill to cover hearing aids for kids
* Under the Dome Podcast: AFSCME lawsuits everywhere, #MeToo fallout, governor ad war
* Rauner says more ads coming like one featuring other Republican governors
* Madigan aide ousted in harassment scandal responds to accuser

* Roskam's intriguing immigration move
* Apple partners with Oprah for original content push
* Rush hospital: The feds' star system has been wrong for two years
* Why's it so hard to reform an industry that routinely overcharges its customers?
* A year after CIBC deal, 'I'm having fun,' Larry Richman says


* Man shot in head, killed in Marquette Park
* Missing girl, 14, never returned home from school: police
* 2 feared dead after earthquake hits Osaka in western Japan
* Melania Trump ‘hates’ to see families separated at border
* Mike Montgomery tries to force Cubs into tough decision once Yu Darvish healthy
* Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas
* Cubs’ Javy Baez leaves game with arm injury after being hit by pitch
* Veteran TV journalist Elizabeth Brackett dies after bike accident
* 3 apartments burglarized in Edgewater Beach
* Chicago heat wave continues into Monday


* 3 dead, dozens injured by earthquake in Osaka in western Japan
* Cubs blanked 5-0 by Cardinals, could be without Javier Baez after he leaves game following HBP
* New Jersey art festival on verge of being shut down when shots rang out, killing 1
* Fight intensifies over Trump's family separation policy after Democrats visit detention facilities
* Former U.S. players not cool with Landon Donovan championing Mexico
* ‘Westworld’ Episode 9 recap: 5 things to know about ‘Vanishing Point’ and William’s life outside the park
* ‘Claws’ Episode 2 recap: 5 things to know about ‘Cracker Casserole’ — from Florida with love
* Elizabeth Brackett, longtime 'Chicago Tonight' reporter, dies at 76
* Pedro Strop says 2018 Cubs bullpen is the best he has been a part of
* Phil Mickelson's wife says 'he's a good man who had a bad moment' after Saturday snap at U.S. Open


» Dad-isms: Jokes and Lessons Our Fathers Taught Us
» Parkland Survivors Join Chicago Youth, Celebrities At St. Sabina's Peace March
» Why Don’t Chicago Beaches Have A Poop Threshold?
» Furniture From Closed CPS Schools Ends Up In Surprising Places
» Students Go Back In Time To Record On Machine That Democratized Music
» State Week: AFSCME Contract; Abortion Court Fight; Former Madigan Staffer Responds To Accusations
» Durbin OKs State Senator McCarter for Kenya Ambassadorship
» Durbin Backs State Senator McCarter for Kenya Ambassadorship
» WBEZ’s Chicago And Illinois News Roundup: June 15, 2018
» The Week in Review: Musk Promises 12-Minute O’Hare Express


* George Will: Congress suffers arthritic knees from genuflecting to presidential power
* Rauner to consider allowing medical cannabis for opioid patients
* Bipartisan work yields gun bills, fate rests with Rauner
* Bernard Schoenburg: Gov. Rauner owns Sangamon farmland — with somebody
* Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner owns Sangamon farmland — with somebody
* Angie Muhs: New reporter will focus on local business coverage
* Our View: City should not put competing township referendum on ballot
* Faith Coalition for the Common Good: Leaders impact lives of homeless
* Statehouse Insider: Illinois second to Missouri again
* Thom Dammrich: The Modern Fish Act — Good for Illinois


* Folks fly (and drive) to the Marshall County Airport for Father’s Day
* Bacon Sunday shares top billing with Father's Day at New Life Church
* Excessive heat warning extends through Monday evening
* Ride the River: Families gather for Father's Day tradition
* Steam bath weather ideal for convertibles, bad for everything else
* Duo look to make over Main Street one step at a time
* UI Open:Championship Round
* Tazewell, Woodford marriages, divorces: June 17, 2018
* Random Acts of Kindness: A stuffed animal and a smile
* DAILY RECORD


* The Latest: 3 confirmed dead in western Japan earthquake
* Melania Trump 'hates' to see families separated at border
* Art festival on verge of being shut down when shots rang out
* Chicago TV host, athlete Brackett dies at 76 after bike fall
* 2 feared dead after earthquake hits Osaka in western Japan

* Lobsters latest target as US, China trade ...
* Our view: GOP group spot on in recent Blag...
* Stigma is a roadblock in battling the dise...
* How Donald Trump and Chuy Garcia Br...
* Won't sign 'moderate' immigrat...
* Bernard Schoenburg: Rauner owns Sangamon f...
* Mempho Music Festival Returns To Memphis T...
* Michelle Pfeiffer Was Not Originally A Fan...
* Word on the Street: Whether legislation mi...
* Parkland students, activists registering v...

* Trump tweets Dems and GOP should get toget......
* Concourse Capital Management Trimmed Amc E......
* Principal Financial Group Stake in Sinclai......
* Putnam Fl Investment Management Co Has Lif......
* As Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI) Share V......

* "Senator Tammy Duckworth …&quo......
* hapas...
* Where is duckworth...
* Stupid Tammy...
* My View: How can we let this happen to chi......

* ​Affordable Learning Exchange works to increase access by reducing costly course material: Goal is to save students $10 million by 2020
* Take that leukemia: Andrew Jones cleared to take online classes, move into dorm
* Here’s How Higher Education Dies
* Harvard Hosts 60-Year Curriculum Symposium
* Startup Uses AI and Human Augmentation for Video/Audio Transcription
* 6 Reasons Blended Learning Works
* An Inside Look at Online Carding Courses for Cybercriminals
* eLearning for Refugees: Three Programs Making a Difference
* A society of ‘dishwashers’ sees El Tri victories as a drop-dead to xenophobes
* The Fifty-Year Plan: A mid-term report. June, 2018.


* Multi-State Salmonella Outbreak Linked To Cereal
* PHIL VASSAR AND LOVE AND THEFT ROUND OUT THE DU QUOIN STATE FAIR GRANDSTAND
* Illinois 89 Bridge in Spring Valley Opens to Traffic
* Gov. Rauner announces release of funding for Department of Agriculture programs
* Gov. Rauner, Lt. Gov. Sanguinetti provide update on efforts to combat opioid epidemic

  
* Optus apologises for World Cup streaming as Australian PM asks for assurances
* LG Android One phone leaked by Q Stylus source code with T-Mobile link
* OPPO Find X fans quizzed on screen-to-body ratio, but what’s the answer?
* Westworld’s Man in Black is beyond saving
* Foxtel continues fight against pirates
* US details tariffs to hit $34b of Chinese goods, Beijing retaliates
* ​NSW to spend AU$10m on driverless car trials

* MLB roundup: Tigers beat White Sox 3-1 for 5th straight win
* White Sox Minor League Update: June 17, 2018
* White Sox Minor League Update: June 17, 2018
* Indians welcome back Alonso vs. White Sox
* Most Essential White Sox Vote: Round 29
* Most Essential White Sox Vote: Round 29
* Eli Hershkovich discusses the Cubs, White Sox, and the NBA D...


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller