Source: April M. Washington, Rocky Mountain News (CO), December 30, 2005
Colorado has promised not to bad-mouth a company that started but did not finish building a $40.8 million computer system for the state Department of Labor, according to a settlement announced last week. Colorado also will “express appreciation” for the company’s work, according to the Dec. 20 document. Accenture and the Department of Labor formally terminated their contract last week over claims by the state that the global technology services company was far behind schedule and that the system it was developing was fraught with bugs.
Source: By DON WALKER, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI), Dec. 22, 2005
A new review of the troubled computer system used to manage state sales-tax receipts has found new problems, resulting in underpayments and overpayments to counties that receive proceeds from the tax. The Legislative Audit Bureau released the report on the troubled Integrated Tax System (ITS) this morning. …… State officials paid American Management Systems $12.2 million for the system, but the cost has since ballooned to at least $27.6 million. The higher costs also are reflective of changes in the contract and changes in the scope of the computer system. In 2003, software problems within the system forced 57 counties to repay the state $24.5 million after the department overpaid them. Last summer, another glitch resulted in 23 counties being shorted $1.3 million and 35 others being overpaid about $2 million.
Source: SANDY MC CLURE, Asbury Park Press (NJ), 12/21/05
After a Chesterfield, Mo.-based company hired to collect back taxes and other revenue for New Jersey lavished state officials with food, gifts and drinks, those officials turned a “blind eye” to the company’s padded bills, costing taxpayers at least $1 million, according to a scathing report issued Tuesday by the State Commission of Investigation. Outsourcing Solutions Inc., also known as OSI Collection Services, gave the wide array of gifts, meals, alcohol and outings to at least 20 state employees who were senior and midlevel managers in the divisions of taxation and revenue in the state Department of the Treasury, the report said. ….. The investigative commission estimated that from 2000 through 2004, OSI overbilled the state by $1 million. It charged the state for employees whose work should have been considered administrative overhead and not billable, the report said.
Source: Mark P. Couch, Denver Post (CO), Dec 21, 2005
The state of Colorado ended months of protracted negotiations with contractor Accenture LLP on Tuesday, dumping the company after the state poured $35 million into a computer system that doesn’t work. The state and the company agreed not to sue each other and released a joint statement saying they “mutually agreed to terminate” the contract for a new unemployment-insurance system. In addition, Accenture agreed to refund $8.2 million and to release $7 million more that it claimed the state owed for work it already had completed, said Dan Hopkins, spokesman for Gov. Bill Owens. ….. Genesis is not the state’s only troubled computer system. The secretary of state fired Accenture in November after spending $1.5 million on a $10.5 million voter-registration system. And the $204 million Colorado Benefits Management System developed by EDS continues to roil lawmakers with requests for additional money.
Source: Jon R. Luoma, Mother Jones, November/December 2002
Contamination, riots, rate increases, scandals. From Atlanta to Manila, cities are confronting the true cost of water privatization.
Source: MATT STILES, Houston Chronicle, Dec 9, 2005
City Controller Annise Parker said today that she has launched an audit into allegations that a contractor billed the city of Houston for collection and disposal of tons of garbage collected in neighboring municipalities. A second phase of the probe will look at the city’s Solid Waste Management department to ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent fraud and to “identify ways to make the department more effective and efficient,” Parker said. ….. Officials at the company under audit, Florida-based Republic Services, Inc., could not be reached for comment this morning. Parker, who said the company has agreed to pay $150,000 to fund the audit, also plans to look at whether the company ought to pay restitution.
Source: April M. Washington, Rocky Mountain News (CO), December 7, 2005
The Colorado Department of Labor accused technology giant Accenture on Tuesday of trying to hijack the state for nearly $20 million more to complete an update of one of its computer systems. Rick Grice, the agency’s executive director, threatened to pull the plug on the deal, worth $40.8 million, if the New York-based company and the state cannot come to terms by end of the month to salvage the project. …. Labor is not the only Colorado department to complain about Accenture. Last week, the secretary of state announced she was pulling out of a $10 million contract with Accenture to build a new computer system to track voter registration.
Source: By KEN SUGIURA, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA), 12/07/05
Two Gwinnett County jail inmates say the company that provides health care at the facility largely ignored their repeated requests for help for their cellmate in the two days before her death. Harriet Washington, 43, of Norcross, died Oct. 17 in her cell. In a Nov. 8 letter addressed to the medical unit supervisor and the Sheriff’s Department’s internal affairs unit, inmates Kim Holmes and Carla Dotson allege that Washington’s multiple symptoms were for the most part ignored by staff from Tennessee-based Prison Health Services Inc., a private firm contracted by the county to provide medical care at the jail.
Source: CHARLES ASHBY, PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN, December 1, 2005
In a surprise move, Secretary of State Gigi Dennis canceled a $10 million contract Wednesday with a Virginia software company to set up the state’s new voter registration computer system. Dennis’ office had been having numerous problems with the computer software that the company, Accenture, had been developing to help the state integrate voter registrations in all 64 Colorado counties. ……. “When we saw these problems, we decided we were not going to throw good money after bad,” Dennis’ spokeswoman Dana Williams told The Associated Press, which broke the story early Wednesday about the contract cancellation. “We’re going to get this fixed as soon as we can.”
Source: Karlyn Barker, Washington Post, Tuesday, November 29, 2005; A01
The District government is failing to provide adequate care for mentally and physically disabled residents in its group homes, according to a court monitor who found that a pattern of neglect led to four deaths in the past year. One woman and three men “are dead because they did not receive timely and competent health care,” court monitor Elizabeth Jones said in a newly released report. ….. Jones attributed the deaths to serious neglect by two contractors that operate some of the homes and to shoddy oversight by the city, particularly case managers assigned to track the care of individual residents. Two of the people who died were in the same home. ….. In 1999, a series of articles in The Washington Post disclosed 350 documented cases of abuse and neglect, as well as profiteering, in the city’s group homes. The series found that none of the 116 deaths that had occurred in the homes since 1993 had been investigated.