in Houston, Texas
Texas state agency data project more than seven times original cost, six years late
Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012, 09:22AM CST
By Curt Olson
money

The Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services has a web-based case management system that is way over budget and way past its deadline, a new state auditor’s report shows.

The ReHabWorks System was supposed to replace the case management system from multiple state commissions that were dissolved upon the creation of the department in 2004.

Department officials estimated the original cost at $2.6 million, $2.4 million from federal funds.

As of May, the department estimates it will cost more than seven times that amount‚ $18.3 million. However, auditors determined the department had already spent $18.8 million through March.

The project that was supposed to be completed in 2007 has had two extensions and now has a completion date by April 2013. The department spent $2.2 million between 2010 and 2012 without getting approval from the Legislative Budget Board, which is required in state law.

Auditor John Keel reports the following on ReHabWorks System:

“The department was originally appropriated $2.4 million in federal funds for the development of the ReHabWorks System for the 2006-2007 biennium, with a completion date of August 2007.

“The Department modified the project scope twice, extending the completion date to August 2010. The Department did not originally report approximately $10.9 million in indirect costs related to personnel participating in the development of the ReHabWorks System in the Biennial Operating Plan it submitted to the Legislative Budget Board.”

The audit states the project lacked proper planning, monitoring, and documentation, all of which led to the cost overruns and missed deadlines.

Department leaders agreed with the auditor’s recommendations and submitted plans to implement  them.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Comments
Peggy Venable
Wednesday, 07/18/2012 - 10:41AM

Who knew? Thanks so much for revealing this astonishing report. No waste in government? Indeed!

Larry Prather
Thursday, 07/19/2012 - 03:35PM

Come on Texas Legislators and Governor. Kill this monstrosity now. Government needs to learn how to stop stupid overspending and get rid of those people who run this cash toilet especially when they don't report a mere $10 million plus expense. Obviously they have no scruples and need to be removed and the whole idea rethought. Quit wasting my money!

Sandy
Thursday, 07/19/2012 - 04:09PM

Shameful. Recipients of public money (taxpayer funds) are charged with the responsibility to be honest stewards and protect those funds from fraud and abuse. Department leaders responsible for this program should all be fired and replaced by knowledgeable, competent folks.

Michael
Thursday, 07/19/2012 - 04:35PM

This agency sounds as if it is being run by the federal government. If, as this story alludes, the "leadership" of this outfit has broken laws, when will they be fired and brought to justice. This sounds like more of Speaker Straus' doings to me.

Voice of Reasoning
Friday, 07/20/2012 - 11:29AM

Clearly this is why so little money is reaching the people who actually need it! This is a total disregard for the people you are supposed to be serving in this State. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Voters, please remember this when you go to the polls!!!

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