Squid Speaks

ERP-DA-DERP…Squid has been going through Squid’s expenses, trying to figure out how to save some dollars without nickel-and-diming Squidself to death. Should Squid buy bags of less expensive and frozen farm-raised shrimp from Costco, for example, or should Squid keep going to the fish market to buy pricier wild-caught? Should Squid cut down on sky-high gas (and carbon emissions) by driving the jalopy less and oozing around on the old tentacles more, or should Squid buy a Tesla?

Squid isn’t sure. And local government sure isn’t being helpful by setting a good example.

For evidence of that, Squid directs Squid’s readership to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors agenda for June 18. Just about a week after the Monterey County Civil Grand Jury dropped an epic report on the county’s bungled and breathtakingly expensive implementation of its Enterprise Resource Planning system (the priceless subhed on this report: “Costly Lessons from a Decade-Long Systems Enhancement Effort”) it looks like the county is going to approve another seven-figure outlay on the old ERP, as it’s known, adding $5,061,997.07 (Squid loves that 0.07! So precise!) to the existing contract amount of $2,613,215.17 (Squid loves that 0.17! So precise!) and extending the terms of that contract, with CGI Technologies and Solutions, Inc. for five years to June 30, 2024.

Oh! And! The supes are also set to approve adding $1,073,353.88 (0.88! Let’s hear it for 0.88!) so CGI will provide enhanced maintenance services to the ERP, thus “supporting unique Monterey County business requirements,” the agenda item reads.

These are contract amendments, the board report notes, and not an entirely new contract. And while someone deep in the bowels of county government assures Squid the amendments and additional cash are necessary to keep things running, Squid notes the deliciously ironic timing, coming so quickly on the heels of that grand jury spanking. (Highlights of that 104-page smackdown include a revolving door on the project manager’s office during the initial ERP implementation, with five project managers coming and going in three years; unidentified “senior county management” identified later in the report as working in County Administrative Officer’s office and the Auditor-Controller’s office knowingly launching the payroll system with overtime calculations not matching contractual bargaining unit agreements—and getting sued and grievanced by two of those bargaining units to the tune of $378,000 in fines; and bringing in an outside project manager, eCare, without eCare submitting a request for proposals, maybe because the guy who ran it played golf with then-Auditor-Controller Mike Miller. Maybe. More than one well-placed county employee has brought that relationship up to Squid’s colleagues. Miller always said it was no big deal—"I don't think that's unusual. I do that with a lot of folks I work with, who doesn't?"—but it did raise Squid's eyebrows.

As the grand jury noted, “the BoS did not demonstrate adequate responsibility for ensuring taxpayers’ monies were spent effectively and appropriately” and “the BoS assumed an arms-length association with (then-Auditor-Controller Miller) and did not exert sufficient oversight of the ERP project.”

Squid appreciates the grand jury’s willingness to smack around the supes, and hopes they learned their lesson. With a new auditor-controller, Rupa Shah, in office and all that delicious taxpayer money about to be spent, here’s hoping the BoS will keep a close eye on the nickels and dimes now so they don’t get millions-of-dollars to deathed later.

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(1) comment

Ken M.

This is hilariously timed - the county is doing its budget and says that employee costs are really the showstopper. I bet some of these millions could be better spent to offset the increasing healthcare costs of works but NO, employee will eat up the cost and effectively just do the same amount (likely more) of work and make less money. How about we shrink the X bargaining unit?? They're the ones who have cell phone and car stipends, make much more $ and generally call the shots with little to no qualifications..

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