In pulling the plug on an $89-million accounting system disaster, Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink has delivered a potent message to those who do business with the state:
Get the work done right, on time and on budget, or be gone.
The state set out to integrate all of its accounting systems so it could track every transaction from every agency. Three years later, it has spent $89-million with little to show for it....
Project Aspire is one of three major privatization projects begun during the tenure of former Gov. Jeb Bush and shielded from oversight. People First, a nine-year, $350-million agreement with Convergys Corp. to privatize personnel services, is at least as problem-plagued as the BearingPoint venture. A legislative analysis last year reported that 21 state agencies still kept paper files because they didn't trust People First. One agency was forced to increase its human resource budget by $1.3-million to cope with the new system.
Bush once vetoed a legislative attempt to review the contracts, but Sink and Gov. Charlie Crist have committed to holding the businesses accountable.