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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    War Profiteer and Weapons Maker Lockheed Martin gets pay off in Child Tracking Business.

    What may be the biggest computer fiasco in the history of state government ended this week on a pleasant note for cash-strapped California – a $193 million rebate from the federal government.

    The federal government finally certified – 20 years after a law was passed – that California has succeeded in building an automated statewide system for tracking and collecting child support.


    The costly state misadventure includes the abandonment of a $111 million computer system in 1997, a $46 million court award to a computer firm found to be underpaid, and delays that reduced federal funding for the system.

    The current system costs roughly $1.6 billion, about a third paid by the state. The federal share, originally 90 percent, dropped to 60 percent after California missed a deadline extended to 1997 for completing the system.

    A state appellate court was sharply critical of state management in the $46 million award to the computer firm, Lockheed Martin, that built the system abandoned in 1997.

    The court said Lockheed Martin had developed an imperfect but workable system that failed, in part, because of demands from counties that the system be customized to fit their individual needs.

    County district attorneys, who are elected officials, had their own collection systems. The court said the state recognized that problems were not simply technical but also “political, emotional, visceral.”

    The administration of then-Gov. Gray Davis launched a reform in 2000 by moving the collection system from the Department of Social Services to a newly created Department of Child Support Services.

    The state Franchise Tax Board, which has experience with large computer systems, provided guidance. The state signed a contract in 2003 with a consortium led by IBM.



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