• I’ve heard of a new department getting a new computer system, but never a computer system getting a new department… Welcome to FI$CAL’s World

    September 21st, 2016 by admin Categories: Blogs Tags: , ,

    FI$CAL with fill Picture1Two very significant, and very ironic, IT related events have drawn TechLeader.TV’s interest over the last month or so. Both are related to the state’s mega-project FI$CAL, the cleverly phonetic acronym for the $840 million Financial Information System for California. The project now in its fourth year of implementation is years behind schedule, hundreds of millions over budget and not estimated to be completed for another 3-4 years. By then one can expect that its final cost will be well north of a billion dollars.

    FI$CAL was originally conceived as a replacement for the California Department of Finance’s legacy financial system, CalSTARS, which was the brainchild of Cap Weinberger, then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s Finance Director. That gives you some idea of how old it is.

    Now there are reports that the Department of Finance has decided not to operate FI$CAL when completed, but will hand it over to the Government Operations Agency. So the Department of Finance now won’t own the state’s new finance system, go figure???

    And then there’s this. The GovOps Agency is assessing the possibility of creating a new department to run FI$CAL???

    However, that brings us to our second issue. As reported in the LATimes  recently the Governor and the Legislature’s new budget agreement gutted FI$CAL’s operating budget language which previously had stipulated that FI$CAL would provide a publicly available website to identify specific department budgets and spending transactions, and the reason for the expenditure, along with other comprehensive, detailed data points all available for the public. All for greater transparency, all good stuff, and all are standard data and reporting capabilities of current enterprise financial systems, including FI$CAL, and these capabilities were highlighted every previous year in FISCAL’s ongoing legislation going back to 2011.

    FI$CAL’s contribution to government transparency was one of its major selling points when the DOF was ushering its ever increasing budget through the legislature.

    Not anymore… This isn’t transparency; it’s a war on transparency.

    Then again, maybe it’s just a going away present from the DOF after leaving a mess for someone else to clean-up.

    Here’s a Warning – To the Government Operations Agency – To paraphrase Virgil – Beware of DOF bearing gifts.

    I think this issue is, as they say, developing…

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