Category Archives: Horror.Stories

State faces new glitches on computers / After a multimillion-dollar system failed last year, more problems surface with two other projects.

Source: Mark P. Couch, Denver Post (CO), 12/01/2005

The state of Colorado has another multimillion-dollar computer mess on its hands. A year after the state’s welfare-benefits computer system bogged down as soon as it was launched, lawmakers Wednesday discovered that the state Department of Labor and Employment had spent $39 million on a computer system that doesn’t work. …… In early November, the state labor department declared Accenture in “breach of contract” and launched confidential negotiations with the company to resolve the matter. ….. The letter states that Accenture refuses to complete the project without a “substantial increase in compensation,” a demand that the state calls a “refusal to perform and a material breach of the contract.”

'Trophy video' under investigation / Video appears to show private security contractors shooting at Iraqi citizens.

Source: Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor, November 28, 2005 at 11:00 a.m.

A video posted on the Internet that appears to show private security contractors in Iraq shooting at Iraqi citizens is being investigated by British officials. The Sunday Telegraph reported that both the British Foreign Office and the company connected to the video, Aegis Defense Services, have launched investigations into the video. ….. Private security contractors in Iraq operate under the same rules as the US military, and cannot be prosecuted by Iraqi officials for use of lethal force.

What’s behind your lunch? What is a company with a history like that of Aramark doing running our campus dining service? Part I

Source: By John Hoff, Minnesota Daily, November 9, 2005

Complaints about campus food service are nothing new. Words like dreadful and abominable can be found in the minutes of various campus committees, available over the Internet, mixed with the corporate name Aramark like a less than fresh stir-fry. These are not merely the words of students, but spoken by faculty members advocating on behalf of students, like professor Paula Rabinowitz, whose remarks were summarized in minutes of the Faculty Consultative Committee on July 12, 2000, as follows: “The food is abominable and almost inedible.” She also maintained that the retail food service has a nearly-captive audience because it is a long walk to find places to eat off campus and then only to “abominable fast food places.” Moreover, it is cold in the winter; people do not want to walk half an hour to eat. She said the food was demoralizing and that there are appallingly few choices. Many people now bring their lunches and eat in their offices, she said, which is a sad commentary on the food.

Part II: From scrapes with federal authorities, to cigarette price fixing, to “Ninny the Torch,” Aramark serves up a buffet of controversy.
Part III: From dangerous meat to oversized chichis, Aramark serves a buffet of controversy.
Part IV: A dirty thumbnail history of Aramark’s troubled relationship with the University via Daily archives brings us to the present day.

State software cost doubles / $27.6 million computer system to track sales tax has never functioned properly

Source: PATRICK MARLEY, Journal Sentinel (WI), Nov. 18, 2005

The computer system that tracks the state’s sales tax receipts – which has yet to work properly – cost more than twice as much as originally budgeted, a newly released review of the project shows. The state Department of Revenue in 2000 agreed to pay contractor American Management Systems Inc. $12.2 million, but the cost swelled to $27.6 million by early this year, the report says.

Bridge inspection called too costly / Union says work force cuts driving state reliance on contractors

Source: Albany Times Union (NY)
Date: Monday, November 21, 2005

Hiring private contractors to inspect New York’s bridges is costing the state at least 50 percent more than using state employees on the job, according to a new study by the Public Employees Federation. What’s more, PEF analysts say, internal Department of Transportation memos show that the agency’s increasing reliance on consultants hasn’t been fueled by a desire to save money, increase efficiency or improve quality. Rather, the memos indicate that consultant contracts are seen as a way to replace bridge inspectors lost due to early retirements and freezes on hiring and promotions.

Editorial: State contracts aren’t saving enough money

Source: Appleton Post Crescent, November 22, 2005

The state of Wisconsin has broken the bottom-line rule about awarding contracts: They have to be a good deal. But some of the contracts the state has issued as part of Gov. Jim Doyle’s Accountability, Consolidation and Efficiency Initiative aren’t a good deal because they don’t save the state as much money as they could. The Associated Press found state employees — particularly those in the University of Wisconsin System — who say they can buy products such as office equipment and janitorial supplies cheaper than they’re required to buy them under the state’s mandatory contracts.

Report: Firm was advised to inflate fees

Source: Associated Press (OH), Nov 21, 2005

COLUMBUS – A consulting firm analyzing the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation was advised by a bureau lawyer to inflate its hourly fees to get around a law that requires consultants to be reimbursed for expenses at the same rate as state employees, a newspaper reported Sunday. The agency has been overhauling its financial strategy since revelations last spring that it lost more than $300 million in investments, including $13 million in rare coins and $215 million in a hedge fund. Ennis Knupp & Associates has billed the state $1.2 million for its work analyzing and stabilizing the bureau’s investments. The bill included $1,695 for three hours traveling, $470 for two hours copying documents and almost $1,300 for a couple of hours spent reading and writing e-mail messages, according to records analyzed by the Columbus Dispatch.

Collecting delinquent child support a deadbeat effort in El Paso County

Source: Bob Campbell, Colorado Springs Independent, June 29, 2000

…According to local ACES head Denise Stinson, Colorado is one of the lowest-rated states in terms of enforcing federal child support laws and guidelines. El Paso County, meanwhile, is the lowest-rated county in Colorado. …. Numerous statistics and publications bear her out. With more than 20,000 open child support cases involving 39,000 children, the county is ranked last or next-to-last in four of 10 performance-measurement categories published by the State Office of Child Support Enforcement. …Until 1996, El Paso County contracted with the District Attorney’s office to enforce child support services. According to DA Jeanne Smith, the county opted to privatize the service in 1996 because caseloads were proliferating faster than the DA office could manage. In response, the Board of County Commissioners solicited contract bids for child support services and selected Maximus, a Virginia-based company that provides the service to eight states and employs 4,000 people in 130 offices nationwide. ACES claims that child support services have deteriorated in El Paso County ever since. The organization notes that last year’s state auditor’s report faulted Maximus in the areas of understaffing, poor management, large numbers of errors and substandard enforcement. Taxpayers, Stinson insists, are paying more for less under Maximus. ….