D.C.: More Delay Expected In Financial Report--new computer system blamed

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

D.C.: More Delay Expected In Financial Report--new computer system blamed

By Stephen C. Fehr Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, February 27, 2000; Page C09

The District's chief financial officer is shaking up her senior staff after having to tell D.C. Council members that the city's yearly financial report--which already was expected to be 45 days late--actually will be delayed further.

Valerie Holt told council members Friday that the annual report, the underpinning of the fiscal 2001 budget being prepared by the mayor, probably will be delayed past March 15 because of ongoing problems installing a new financial management computer system.

The mayor's budget is scheduled to be released March 13, but Holt said she has been sending the mayor's office unaudited financial data that she said is reliable enough for his staff to use in estimating the city's spending plan for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Holt announced that Anthony Pompa, the deputy chief financial officer in charge of preparing the report, would not lose his job. But she said she has asked former acting chief financial officer Earl C. Cabbell and associate chief financial officer Ben Pittman to help Pompa complete the report by the end of March. Cabbell and Pittman have broad experience in financial management systems.

The report, which contains final, audited figures on revenue and spending for a given year, is required by law to be finished by Feb. 1. Holt announced Jan. 28 that the report wouldn't be ready until at least March 15. She said Friday she will know for sure this week whether she can meet the new target date but was doubtful.

Gregory Holloway, managing partner of Mitchell & Titus, the accounting firm charged with examining the District's financial statements, told council members he doubted the report will be ready March 15. "Possible, but not probable," he said.

Major parts of the financial data have not been entered into the computer system, he said. Holloway said the city probably will receive a "clean" or unqualified opinion, which means the numbers in the report that show a balanced budget and surplus are accurate.

Holt has come under sharp criticism from council members, first for waiting until just before the Feb. 1 deadline to tell them about the 45-day delay and then for not being able to stick to that schedule. Council members, some of whom opposed Holt's promotion to the chief financial officer's job last summer, criticized her again at a hearing Friday.

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) cited a General Accounting Office report showing that 42 percent of the employees who are supposed to work with the financial management system had skipped training classes.

"We should consider firing them," Evans said, adding that 47 percent of the employees were in Holt's office. "There should be repercussions in the District government for not doing what you're supposed to do."

He blamed the breakdown on a city bureaucracy unwilling to adjust to a new financial management system. "There's a natural inclination not to want to change, but that overwhelmed the interest in getting the new system in place."


-- Carl Jenkins (Somewherepress@aol.com), February 27, 2000


So, let's see. Somehow, miraculously, the biggest baddest software project of the computerizes world gets done, on time, and now it's back to business as usual????

big projects are getting late again??


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 27, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ