In an article printed in the The Recorder yesterday, reporter Cheryl Miller revealed what we’ve long suspected and perhaps already knew. The AOC is actively campaigning and lobbying against an audit of the monies spent on CCMS.
Curtis Child, director of the AOC’s Office of Governmental Affairs, confirmed Wednesday that he and other AOC staffers have tried to persuade members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee that further scrutiny of plans for the controversial computer network is unnecessary. The committee decides what audit requests are submitted to auditor Elaine Howle.
As part of the budget adopted last year, the Office of the State Chief Information Officer, which reviews government technology projects, was charged with reviewing the CCMS and issuing a report to the Legislature. That report is due in the coming weeks.
“We think that’s exactly the place [an audit] ought to be,” Child said. “This is a chief information officer who certainly knows systems and knows approaches and will be able to provide information.” Review by the state auditor “would be duplicative,” Child added.
In addition to arguing that an audit would only be duplicative of any of the work done by the Office of the State Chief Information Officer, Childs went on in the article to claim that an independent audit would also wind up costing AOC staff attention.
Child said that the AOC has nothing to hide from an audit, but an additional review will divert staff attention from completing the project. If the CIO’s review doesn’t satisfy all of Lowenthal’s questions, she can “make a new request after that.”
Word of the AOC’s campaign has, of course, been met with dismay and disappointment. And one person in particular nailed it on the head in describing how wrong it is for the AOC to be doing what it’s doing.
Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, formally requested the CCMS audit and said she was surprised to learn of the AOC’s lobbying efforts.
“You’d think that would be a red flag to the committee,” Lowenthal said. “There will obviously be value to the report by the chief information officer. But you’d get a much more thorough and in-depth picture with an audit,” she said. “An audit is a tool of good government. It is the tool of transparency.”
And at least one member of the bench was quoted in the article voicing her displeasure at the AOC.
“It is troubling to think that Judicial Council/AOC staff would be urging legislators, behind the scenes, to oppose an independent and fair audit of the problematic and horrifically expensive California Case Management System,” Sacramento Judge Maryanne Gilliard, a board member of the Alliance of California Judges, said in an e-mail. “One would hope and expect the judicial branch to welcome and embrace efforts to shine the light of truth on this matter.”