Ritter asks lawmakers to consolidate state’s computer systems
February 8, 2008
DENVER – Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday asked lawmakers to centralize and streamline the state’s computer systems, saying there are too many examples of underperforming and failing computer systems.Ritter said he wants to consolidate 38 data centers in the Governor’s Office of Information Technology. He said other states can do it with two to four data centers.”The state’s information technology infrastructure has become less than what I think the people of this state have a right to expect,” Ritter said. He said it affects everything from driver’s licenses to social service benefits.Ritter’s chief information officer, Michael Locatis, has said that over the past four years the state wasted $200 million to $300 million on computers that don’t work.Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said there were too many losses when state agencies were allowed to set up their own systems.Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, said lawmakers are committed to fixing the problems.”Colorado cannot continue to make the mistakes we made in the past,” Buescher said.The Ritter administration issued a report in July that cited turnover in leadership, inadequate technical expertise and ineffective management for problems with the Department of Revenue’s $10 million automobile registration computer, Colorado State Titling and Registration System, or CSTARS.The system, which started late last year, was intended to be an upgrade that could be integrated with county systems. It was shut down in April after the department determined it was losing data.Ritter last year cited continuing problems with the state’s welfare computer system. The $200 million system was responsible for processing welfare benefits that include Medicaid, food stamps and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.Counties blamed it for causing a backlog of nearly 30,000 cases and the state was sued for failing to provide benefits.The state was also forced to cancel two major contracts – one for a computer system to manage unemployment insurance and another for voter registration – after the vendor failed to deliver.