Cleaning up Bill Owens’s messes…

By | July 31, 2007

I often feel sorry for Bill Ritter. As wonderful as it is that he is now the Governor of Colorad, he inherited a few major messes from the Bill Owens administration. One of the major messes regards the state’s computer systems. These projects cost state taxpayers millions of dollars and ended up being scrapped:

Gov. Bill Ritter has ordered sweeping changes in an effort to halt Colorado’s dismal record of buying expensive computer systems that don’t work.He issued an executive order seven weeks ago that begins to centralize control over the state’s scattered computer systems and gives unprecedented authority to a single technology executive, State Chief Information Officer Mike Locatis.

Under the previous Owens administration, the state contracted to spend $325 million on five new computer systems that were unable to: pay welfare benefits on time, pay road crews overtime, track voters or unemployment benefits, or issue license plates.

Bill Owens had no problem allowing contracts to a variety of vendors, spending taxpayer money with little-to-no regard to whether the projects were needed, whether they would actually work. No nods were given towards due diligence. Owens simply believed that giving tax dollars to private corporations would automatically yield good results. It seems to be a classic oversite by the whole neocon movement, and Owens embraced it, hook, line and sinker.

Fortunately, Bill Ritter is much more level-headed about this. He allows that many of the projects are needed, but should be done right. He has hired Mike Locatis – a man with a great resume and a lot of experience in consolidating computer systems for major entities. In the end, we’ll end up with a good system that’ll save us money. And Ritter will prove again that government cannot just feed money to private enterprise, but must hold private enterprise responsible.