The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 12, 2013
California Controller John Chiang's response to critical report

In a battle of dueling reports, State Controller John Chiang's office has released what it's calling "a preliminary internal review" of the twice-failed payroll overhaul program that shut down in February after 10 years and a quarter-million dollars spent.

The controller's assessment counters a damning review by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes that says the state couldn't manage the project, lacked the wherewithal to change an ossified bureaucratic culture and fed glowing reports to the Legislature even as the program was in crisis.

The report from Chiang's office blames the structure of the contract with the vendor, inadequate state procurement law at the time and a host of testing and communication failures by that vendor, SAP.

"The SCO believes SAP failed because it was not committed to the same objectives as the State," the report says.

Chiang spokesman Jacob Roper sent an email with the report, citing dozens of occasions in the last few years that department staff met with lawmakers and state oversight agencies about the project.

The Senate report's characterization that staff hid the project's struggles "appears to be driven by the report's over-reliance on the SCO quarterly reports," Roper said in the email, "without taking into account other forms of information sharing that were constantly and regularly taking place between the Legislature and the SCO."

Chiang has said he supports an independent review of the project.

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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


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