Hey! I didn’t say it! The editorial board of the Sacramento Bee did. It’s one thing when you have court staff screaming how inept the AOC is when it comes to court administration and in particular its blind devotion to building and funding its computer software program CCMS. But it’s quite another thing when the AOC gets called out on the carpet by a paper like the Sacramento Bee.
In an editorial printed on Saturday, October 31st, the Bee did its best Claude Rains impersonation when it explained to its readers how it was shocked, shocked, to discover just how much of a boondoggle CCMS has been.
It’s hardly surprising that the state courts are having trouble developing a massive new computer system. California continues to build an information superhighway that is strewn with potholes.
In recent years, a computer system designed to track child support payments ran up tens of millions of dollars in cost overruns. So did an effort by the Department of Motor Vehicles to update its computerized operations.
Yet even when measured against those and other blunders, the snafu of the California courts stands out. Its eye-popping price tag, closing in on $2 billion and climbing, comes in the midst of a massive state budget crisis. The court’s administration of this project has been shockingly inept.
To the editors of the Sacramento Bee who are now shocked and chagrined to find out just the tip of the iceberg of how “inept” the AOC can be, all I can say is, welcome to the party. Now take a number.
Yet the Sacramento Bee didn’t just stop there. Oh, no. The Bee went on to support an idea that has been promoted by many all over the state. Call in for an independent audit now!!
Business as usual will not do. The courts can no longer tolerate wasteful spending, poorly managed technology initiatives and bloated bureaucracies.
To quell all the speculation, Justice George should invite independent outside scrutiny. The Bureau of State Audits should be brought in to do a top-to-bottom review of the state court bureaucracy and a representative sample of county court systems as well. The state’s chief technology officer should take over management of the court’s computer efforts.
Last week’s hearing should just be the beginning because I believe the legislative committee made up of members from both political parties realize that Californians have little to no patience for spending programs that they see as wasteful. Especially when monies are poured into those programs with no controls, oversight, transparency, or input.