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California Legislature State government

Oversight failings cited in delayed state computer project as price tag heads toward $1 billion

California State Capitol Building in Sacramento (Los Angeles Times)
California State Capitol Building in Sacramento (Los Angeles Times)

State officials have failed to remedy problems that have contributed to a two-year delay for a new computer system and cost increases that are pushing its cost toward $1 billion, State Auditor Elaine Howle warned Thursday.

The system is being built to improve the state’s handling of its finances. The completion date has been pushed back from July 2017 to July 2019 and the total estimated cost has increased $237 million to $910 million, Howle said in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Howle wrote that the project team “has not remedied the project’s significant scheduling slippage,” and the project is “failing to promptly respond to its oversight entities’ concerns and recommendations, many of which have been outstanding for more than a year.”

The Financial Information System for California (Fi$Cal) project is supposed to centralize all state budgeting, accounting, procurement and cash management functions in one computer system.

Miriam Ingenito, director of the Department of FI$Cal, welcomed the auditor’s input.

“The more rigor and scrutiny brought to FI$Cal, the stronger the project will be,” she said in a statement. “FI$Cal has hit all major milestones so far and is on track to meet those that remain. We’re also working closely with all of our oversight entities to ensure a high quality system.”

In 2012, state officials estimated the project would cost $617 million and be completed in July 2016, but the budget and schedule were previously increased.

It is one of a handful of state computer projects facing problems.

Updated at 3:48 pm: to include comments by Miriam Ingenito.

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