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California state government computer department is useless

by on28 April 2023

Fails audit

Even if it is home to Silicon Valley California's state government has failed its computer audit.

The State Auditor Grant Parks’ audit of the California Department of Technology noted that while the department had broad responsibility and authority over nearly all aspects of IT, it “has not fulfilled important responsibilities in these areas, resulting in significant consequences for the state.”

The CDT employs about 1,000 people and has been allocated $830 million in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s January budget proposal for fiscal year 2023-24. It is by no means a small department.

The auditor noted “tens of millions of dollars in cost overruns and systems that do not fully function as intended.”

The state has been at risk of serious security breaches and failures. The auditor highlighted, as one example, a 2016 system outage that affected 122 out of 188 Department of Motor Vehicles offices. The outage impaired the ability of many offices to process driver’s licenses and other critical functions for two weeks.

Getting the state’s IT sector in order is crucial because, as of November 2022, the state is spending an additional $3.7 billion on IT projects at 20 different agencies.

To be fair the problems go back decades. In 1994, the Legislative Analyst found $1.3 billion worth of problems with 11 computer systems. In 2020, as COVID-19 spread, the Employment Development Department’s computers buckled, delaying checks to millions of the jobless, sometimes for months.


Last modified on 28 April 2023
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