Franklin County is considering hiring a consultant to help with a long-delayed implementation of financial software designed to prevent internal theft.
The county bought SunGard Public Sector’s ONESolution financial software for $1.1 million in March 2012, less than two months after firing Dennis Huston, the former accounting and administrative director in the public works department. Huston is serving a 16-year prison sentence after admitting to stealing $2.8 million over 22 years, the largest public embezzlement in state history, to support cocaine and gambling addictions.
The county is now looking to hire Accent Business Services of Vancouver, Wash., to provide ongoing project management support for $84,102. Accent assisted the county early on in the software implementation process.
The services would be needed for about a year, Accent CEO Jeff Tompkins told Auditor Matt Beaton in a letter. Tompkins will work closely with Chief Deputy Auditor Jeff Burckhard, the “on the ground” project manager for the county. Tompkins also will help the county deal with change and risk management, resolution for key issues that come up and planning and scheduling of core projects.
“Franklin County is currently underway with their ONESolution project implementation, however, the pace of implementation is inadequate,” Tompkins wrote. “Focused project management should help keep resources on task and speed critical decision making.”
Commissioners agreed the consultant is needed, but pushed back a vote that was scheduled Wednesday.
“I think it’s an unfortunate delay, but it’s probably a necessary expense to get it pushed across the finish line,” commission Chairman Brad Peck said.
The county needs an additional layer of expertise, Commissioner Bob Koch said.
“Our troops are doing a good job, but because of a lack of expertise with the software, it’s taken longer than expected,” he said.
The software implementation was an issue in Commissioner Rick Miller’s successful reelection campaign last year against Melinda Didier, who said some county employees were calling it “None Solution” because of the issues that have prevented them from getting it operational.
Miller defended how long it has taken to bring the software online at the time, saying it can take up to five years. But Wednesday, he said he had been asking for outside help with the software for at least a year.
The county has dedicated employees in information services and the treasurer’s and auditor’s offices working on the software.
Commissioners decided to push back a vote on the software consultant because some of the budget codes in the proposal needed to be reworked, Peck said. Beaton asked that the discussion be moved to their June 17 meeting because he will be at an elections conference next week.