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The strange case of that $71 million for DoIT

Wednesday, Apr 26, 2017

* Buried deep in this AP story about a conveniently timed legislative hearing yesterday about the AP’s story yesterday on secretary of the Department of Innovation and Technology Hardik Bhatt’s spending on an executive-assistance firm, is this more interesting (to me) nugget

Bhatt also deflected committee questions about a transfer last fall by defeated GOP Comptroller Leslie Munger of $71 million from general revenue funds — available to pay providers of human services — to accounts from which DoIT operates. […]

Rep. Will Guzzardi, a Chicago Democrat, pounded Bhatt over Munger’s transfer of $71 million after she lost a special November election to Mendoza. He said the two special accounts DoIT relies on had $85 million on hand. DoIT chief of staff Tyler Clark told Guzzardi, “We needed the money to pay bills.”

Guzzardi responded, “The state owes a lot of money to a lot of vendors out of” the general revenue fund. “Here, $70 million was put on the front line to go out to the vendors you all have, which makes the line longer.”

Bhatt said he did not ask for the money and pointed out that information technology improvements benefit all state services.

Bhatt didn’t ask for the money? And DoIT had $85 million on hand and then got another $71 million to “pay bills” while social service providers were going under?

Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office told me a while ago that they were looking into whether they could transfer Munger’s DoIT cash back to GRF. But, I was told, doing so would be “unprecedented.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:18 am:

    $71 million is a lot of MAP grants. If the IT vendors have a contract, they’ll get paid eventually. MAP students? They don’t have a contract, or an appropriation. They are S.O.L.

  2. - JTF - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    Was this money going to pay contractual DoIT workers? Looking on Accountability IL, in 2016 DoIT paid roughly $180k and $260k to 2 contractual workers. The latter is still being paid the same amount this year. That’s a crazy amount of money to spend on contractual workers when the State is broke and social service providers are shuttering their doors. What concrete ROI does DoIT have to show for this (aside from PR and “innovation centers”)?

  3. - northsider (the original) - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:23 am:

    I hope the new Comptroller DoesIT.
    The November 2016 transaction seems a little hinky, especially coming AFTER the election and it would be good to get that cash back to GRF.

  4. - Earnest - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    >doing so would be “unprecedented.”

    Rauner has taken us into highly unprecedented territory, so hard to avoid.

  5. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    Bhatt said he did not ask for the money…

    So… no vouchers from DoIT to the Comptroller’s office that would justify such a large transfer from GRF??? I will be really interested to see whose “fingerprints” Mendoza’s office finds on those millions. Munger may want to start watching out for busses.

  6. - AC - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    The top spending priority of this administration appears to be a state of the art ERP system. IT modernization is important, but I can’t see how it outranks everything else. I also can’t help but think that there are far less expensive ways to achieve their technology goals, but such solutions might involve public employees.

  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    As a state vendor,, All deals that come in, the question is asked, is it funded. When the resonse is yes, the orders are executed by the vendor.
    When they are not the orders go on hold..
    Fact is Mendoza swooped prior funded payables previously approved for payment.
    Irregardless of the service the vendor provides.
    The issue is every one needs to be paid.
    And until revenue is put on the table by the legislators, which they have not done, no appropriations of remotely close the need are happening.
    It’s MJM doesn’t wanna play with the Gov nonsense, followed by Mendoza playing favorites

  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:34 am:

    So moving that money would put even greater pressure on the hostages for Rauner to leverage then, right?

  9. - Annyong - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    Where there’s smoke there’s fire…. This isn’t the last time we’ll hear of shady going ons at DoIT, mark my words.

  10. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    The ERP implementation was started during Quinn. It saves money and time for all residence of the state.
    It reduces costs, steam lines processes, reduces maintenance costs for 30+ year old systems. DO you use DOS still? Can you get anything done on Windows 95? A fax machine?

  11. - Ghost - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:40 am:

    Transfer the money back. then let rauner file suit over it. would t that anti rauner campaign ad write itself

  12. - sharkette - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:41 am:

    DoIt is a consolidation of : all IT people, so each agencies, It person, is under Doit, all IT products, services, hardware, & software. It is a reduction of government. It reduces buying sam things from different places, it gets rid of outdated software, it stops putting maintenance contracts on 1950 refrigerators, and replaces with new current services.
    It puts a handle on, wraps it’s arm around the IT assets the State has as know one knows what it is as it is in so many different places. Keep in mind these things belong to all residences of the State.
    It is Assets, IT is a service for all people in the State

  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Bhatt has given more speeches than the Governor. DOIT is spending money like they are making it. Watch the expenditures, ERP will be 1/2 a billion dollars before its done, staff moves, high paid consultants and a ton of other reckless spending.

  14. - sharkette - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    DoIt simply is a means to wrap the residents of Illinois arms around our IT assets.
    It puts ALL of IT under one area. It makes running the State less costly to ALL. It benefits ALL. It is a service- combination of many many services for the betterment of everyone.
    And fyi, Quinn started the ERP project.

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    The two funds mentioned are the SSRF and the CRF which are gathered through billings to other agencies. It used to be very few dollars came from the GRF (I think $5 million annually) to cover some school districts networking costs. The numbers mentioned $71 million in a single transfer is likely more than was transferred from the sum total of GRF to these funds in six years prior to Hardik’s leadership.

  16. - 37B - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:57 am:

    Can we get a response from Rauner’s wingman on this one; under oath?

  17. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    Sniff sniff “You smell that?”

    Smells like


  18. - working stiff - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    was probably being put aside to pay the folks in india that have been setup to work the helpdesk and network services. strike or not, doit has already sent a news letter months ago about the “memo of understanding” signed in india. don’t have to read between the lines to figure that one out.

  19. - Just because - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    Why hasn’t Mendoza reviled all the personal service contracts at doit? $60 to $165 an hour. Others are retired employees double dipping making close $200k a year while receiving 3% colas. Plus the millions to Deloite one of the top vendors violating the H1 Visa program?

  20. - IT Guy - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    You are too funny!
    Doit has accomplished NONE of those things!
    Consolidation doesn’t always save money. Doit is nothing more than ploy to move toward privatizing the costly work of IT which from what I have seen over and over costs more and is less effective.

  21. - Union Dues - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    IT consolidations have been tried multiple times over the past 20 or so years. They all claim successes as they are dumping money into it, it fails and then those people disappear. Same as it ever was. It can be done but not with DoITs current management. This current group is doing the worst job I have seen in all prior attempts but spending more money doing it.

  22. - OpenYourEyes - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:51 pm:

    Hardik Bhatt is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the waste of money that is currently happening. One of Gov Rauner’s first orders was to make the dealing with businesses through DCEO less transparent. I hope that Mendoza is combing through all the travel he has taken “in the name of DoIT” and whether or not he has been getting paid for speaking at conferences. That is a huge no no.

    Any money or deals that have been made with Deloitte need to be carefully looked at because that company is horrible on a national scale.

    Sadly, this administration’s shadiness has put a target and black eye on DoIT Staff. Those IT Staff that have been removed from their building because of mold and placed in a conference room for their new work location only because it was “free”. Lost and forgotten about in all this mess.

    Hardik Bhatt will use the 208K in taxpayer funded memberships to work on his next job. Gov Rauner will go back to his lavish millionaire lifestyle. The State of Illinois will be left in ruins and the DoIT Staff will remain black eyed and forgotten.

  23. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:55 pm:

    ==pointed out that information technology improvements benefit all state services==

    I’m sure all of the social service agencies closing are happy to hear that. I’m embarrassed for him for saying that.

  24. - Rauner Buddy - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 12:59 pm:

    It’s amazing that everyone is all bent out of shape over the budget of a brand new department. Did you think government got smaller and more efficient by creating a new department with all the high paid execs and consultants. Putting all the IT eggs in one basket then hiring hundreds of well paid contractors. Just tell me where to sign up. Sounds like a big bucket of money out there and I should be getting some of that.

  25. - Me Again - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 1:02 pm:

    In two years DoIT has accomplished very little and has burned through hundreds of millions of dollars. Now the CIO admits that he is talking with other CIO’s about technologies that don’t even exist yet?

    The State has a long history with Deloitte and has racked up failure after failure. ERP, IES and the rest of the current crop of dud privatizations are also doomed to fail, only they will cost a lot more.

    Billions that we do not have.

  26. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 1:10 pm:

    We knew Munger was playing games with the treasury to facilitate Rauner’s impasse goals. Too bad the Dems didn’t pursue this more aggressively. Mendoza needs to step up her review of these games and bring them to the light.

  27. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 1:12 pm:

    Add to the Deloitte fail list: co-authorship with Filan of the $2 billion pension funding cut and extension of the funding ramp, adding tens of billions to the unfunded liability. Thank the Lord Rod put Roland Burris in charge of overseeing their proposal..

  28. - AC - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Now that we know Rauner’s supporters think the prior administration was leading us down the path toward more efficient government​ we also have an answer to who misses Pat Quinn. Personally I’d prefer a Governor who realized there were more alternatives to antiquated DOS based systems than just SAP.

  29. - Steve Polite - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 1:39 pm:

    If the consolidation and upgrades will eventually save money or improve efficiency, you don’t replace and install thermal windows when your foundation is crumbling even though it will save money in the long run.

  30. - B Hicks - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    Anonymous @ 11:31 - irregardless is not a word. Just saying. Can’t wait to see more of the former wingman’ antics uncovered.

  31. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    Honeybear: pernicious, pervasive, privatization perfidy.

  32. - The Machine - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:05 pm:

    They used the appropriation for what it was bipartisanly appropriated for?! The horror!

  33. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:14 pm:

    Found this handwritten note on the 2nd floor yesterday.

    No Need but Corporate Need
    This machine kills unions.
    Give privatization a chance

    Not sure who it belongs to. S/

  34. - DidIT - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:21 pm:

    It would probably be an interesting story: Purchases of state computers, including tablets, requires approval of the Mgt & Business office. A FOIA request for such purchases and then the follow-up bill payments (if vendors have been getting paid) might or might not surprise everybody.

  35. - JTF - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:36 pm:

    The Quinn administration did the procurement for ERP but did not enter into the contracts. Bhatt and CMS/DoIT should not have entered into the ERP contracts at beginning of 2016 if the Governor was not prepared to negotiate a full budget mid-2016. Not presenting and negotiating budgets has consequences…like you can’t start a 100-200 million IT upgrade!!!!!!!!

  36. - Union Dues - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    JTF - arent they saying its a 900 million dollar upgrade?

  37. - Flynn's mom - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    This is so sad. People who need assistance from social services agencies, kids who want to go to college but just need a little help are locked out so that we can fund DoIT?? I believe that the computer system needs upgrades and that it is very behind the times, but to do that at the expense of hungry seniors, homeless people and kids needing to go to college seems unreasonable. But, no social agenda?? Right??

  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    Its funny how some of the comments here defending the fund transfer are overlooking the “tiny” fact that DoIT didn’t request the money. That is why this looks more like a game of hiding funds by Rauner’s crew than an effort to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

  39. - Liberty - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 5:30 pm:

    How can any of this be done without an appropriation?

  40. - Rauner Buddy - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 5:56 pm:

    Apple computers and tablets being introduced should save a huge amount of money. All the infrastructure and support is already in place. Good job Mr. Bhatt.
    Check out the DOIT warehouse, lots of new computers and equipment are being bought with that 71Million…/S

  41. - Shaggy Dog - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 6:14 pm:

    DoIT is a scam. Nothing more done than when it was still CMS. Spending money moving people into leased buildings when it isn’t needed. Buying Apple computers when they cant support them and they cost twice as much as a regular laptop. Bhatt is about Bhatt not the people of Illinois. Just like his boss Bruce.

  42. - inside DoIT - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 7:05 pm:

    Having worked under the previous CIO with CMS it’s easy to see the contrast. Hardik has the communication skills along with the leadership and vision to make the new agency work. Will there be pain and some mistakes, sure. But if you want progress …

  43. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 7:22 pm:

    Munger was Rauner’s self-described wingman as comptroller. Rauner’s objective is to squeeze the beast.

    So on Munger’s way out the door, $71 million is transferred from GRF to pay some IT contractors, even though, supposedly, nobody asked her to and there was plenty of money to pay them in another fund.

    That’s $71 million not available for contracted social service providers who are being bled to death. That’s an extra $71 million for the IT types, who don’t have to tap the $85 million in their own dedicated fund.

    Few weeks later, Munger and some of her posse land at newly created jobs in the governor’s office. Vital positions, I’m sure.

    Perhaps Munger would like to explain to a GA committee how this all happened.

    Because right now, her “friends” in the governor’s office have fit her for the jacket, all by herself. Is that how she wants to leave it?

  44. - RNUG - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 9:05 pm:

    My long comment earlier in the day about 1 pm must have gotten lost, or trapped because it was from a strange out of state IP address.

    Anyway … As others have said, it’s nothing more than a different version of what CMS did in the past. I’m convinced the whole reason Rauner jumped on Doit was to use the continuing appropriations for the SSRF and CRF revolving funds as a personal piggy bank for his pet projects. And I think part of the reason he stashed money there was to have a (somewhat questionable authority) fund he could pay strikebreakers out of.

  45. - anon - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 9:46 pm:

    IT upgrade are you kidding me. That’s just why Dhs is writing cobol programs to extract their data for ERP. It’s a real upgrade alright. All it is is another layer to display data and pay Deloitte 200 million dollars. Oh yeah guess whose gonna be supporting ERP. That’s right Deloitte and the talented worker’s from telagana. Anyone wanna guess where hardik is from and who he used to work for.

  46. - CCP Hostage - Wednesday, Apr 26, 17 @ 11:12 pm:

    It’s almost like they want put human services providers out of business. /s

  47. - Living it daily - Thursday, Apr 27, 17 @ 12:06 am:

    “It’s almost like they want to put human services providers out of business”, and human service workers, and so on. PRIVATIZATION !

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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