Untangling DMV snarl - state wants to know who is to blame for computer mess (terrorist update - stay tuned)

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Today: October 04, 1999 at 11:30:36 PDT

Untangling DMV snarl

State wants to know who is to blame for computer mess


CARSON CITY -- A consulting firm the state paid $3.6 million may be on the hot seat Tuesday for the part it played in the development of a new trouble-plagued Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety computer system that has resulted in long lines of motorists at DMV offices all over Nevada.

Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, chairman of a legislative oversight subcommittee on the computer system for the DMV, says he wants to talk to officials of Best Consulting about the myriad problems with "Project Genesis."

Suzanne March, head of the Best Consulting team, could not be reached for comment. She reportedly was out of state. But Carroll Livingston, vice president for corporate operations for Best Consulting, told the Associated Press that the company alerted the DMV before the Sept. 7 launch of Genesis that it had concerns about the computer system.

Deloitte and Touche received about $9 million for developing the new system. Best Consulting was contracted to be a watchdog to see that major problems were resolved before the system was rolled out for use.

Beers said there are two possibilities. He said Best Consulting may have notified Deloitte and Touche of the problems, and the problems were not fixed. Or Best Consulting may not have discovered the problems. He said he leaned toward the latter explanation.

He said he hopes Best will have officials on hand when his subcommittee meets Tuesday in Las Vegas.

According to legislative records the project, which is due to go through 2003, was estimated at $33.7 million -- and it appears to be on track. The 1997 Legislature allocated $17.8 million of which $343,000 was turned back to the state treasury. The 1999 Legislature appropriated $8.3 million more. The amounts included the pay of 12 state employees assigned to the project during the development stage.

Best Consulting and its predecessor, Prodata Inc., had prior problems with the state. Best was paid $949,240 to design and install a new computer system for the Department of Taxation. The state maintained the system was defective and never completed. Best disagreed.

The state sued but dropped the case after a sealed out-of-court settlement was reached in March 1998. In the settlement, according to state officials who asked not to be named, Best agreed to reimburse the state more than $500,000, and the state returned Best to the list of vendors eligible to get state contracts.

The Department of Motor Vehicles hired Best even though it knew of the past problem with the tax computer.

Beers also wants to check into the effectiveness of a past legislative subcommittee that was to oversee the computer development the past two years. Beers, who was elected in 1998 and not a member of that subcommittee, said he read past minutes of the meetings. The subcommittee, Beers said, was told that "everything was rosy" with the computer.

Even during the 1999 Legislature, he said, there was no hint from the department that there would be major problems. Glitches will always be found in converting to a new computer system, Beers said. But they should not be of the magnitude that has hit the motor vehicle and public safety department.

Other agencies, particularly the state Welfare Division, have had troubles in developing new computer systems. Beers said this shows the state should take a new direction.

A small state like Nevada should not try to develop a new computer system, he said. It should find other states that have installed systems that work and then modify them to fit Nevada's needs. That would be cheaper and more reliable, he said.

The welfare division hired IBM to develop a major computer system that was to cost $24 million and be completed in three years. The costs have reached $100 million, it's been nearly eight years, and the Nomads system still is not working.


-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), October 04, 1999


It couldn't be the DMV has such an intrusive (fascist) complicated bunch of data to computerize is it? I mean, assuming the state has the right (which they don't) to "give" your permission to operated your own vehicle, how complicated can it be to build just a flat file data table to keep track of maybe ten items per car?

Or maybe I'm missing something, like the opportunity for the politicians and bureacrat to snag a little grease for awarding these humonguous contracts?

-- A (A@AisA.com), October 04, 1999.

It was Bin Laden attacking the computer system. His plan is to keep the police busy pulling everybody over because they don't have current registration tags on their cars. When all of the police are busy writing tickets, his hoodlums are going to rob all of our banks!

-- FBI goon (FBI@lies.com), October 04, 1999.

hahahahahahahaha! Classic metrics! ahahahahhahahahahahha!
"everything was rosy" with the computer

Prepare For MeltDown

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), October 04, 1999.

Now I know what ON TRACK means!

Selective quoting: Para 1: ...new TROUBLE PLAGUED COMPUTER Para 2: Best may not have discovered THE PROBLEM... Para 7: the project...seems to be ON TRACK

Bless them!

-- Driver (ilove@dmv.org), October 04, 1999.

I live in Vegas. I can tell you for a fact that I arrived at the DMV at 7AM (they open at 8am) and it still took me 4 hours to get a new Drivers License printed. My little brother was in line with me. he had to take the drivers test, and it took him from 7am to 4pm to finally get his license. This is no exaggeration. I asked the lady who helped me, what the problem was, and she sad the system "crashed" often. That was all i could get out of her.

-- Cory Hill (coryh@strategic-services.net), October 05, 1999.

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