The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 14, 2013
Failed state payroll clean up price tag: $14.5 million

RB_State_Checks_Machine.JPGThe program may be dead, but the spending isn't over for the state's defunct payroll system overhaul.

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget includes a $14.5 million allocation for legal costs and computer data clean up associated with the MyCalPays system that Controller John Chiang killed earlier this year.

Brown's January budget proposal called for $38 million and 150 positions to finish implementing the program, but Chiang canceled the contract with tech giant SAP after a series of error-filled test runs raised concerns that the project could never expand statewide.

Chiang spokesman Jacob Roper didn't have a detailed breakdown of how the controller will spend the reduced allocation.

The governor's budget revision says part of the money will pay for 40 temporary positions to move employee payroll accounts that were part of the failed test runs back to the old computer system, fix errors and make employees whole.

Some of the money will pay for legal costs. Chiang has said he will sue SAP, which has said it fulfilled the contract's terms.

In total, the controller's office has spent $262 million over nine years on the project. Lawmakers first approved funding for a state payroll overhaul in 1998.

PHOTO CREDIT: State paychecks roll off a printer at the State Controller's Office on C Street in Sacramento. Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee 2003 file

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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