Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Barker Wants to Halt Work on State Reporting System

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Barker Wants to Halt Work on State Reporting System

Article excerpt

Gov. George Nigh Thursday disagreed with House Speaker Jim Barker's call for a temporary halt to work on the state's $15 million computerized f inancial reporting system.

Nigh said the year-long delay requested by Barker would cost the state ""millions of dollars in savings'' projected to occur once the system is operational.

""I'd be willing to sit down and let him show me where the savings are going to occur,'' Barker responded. ""That's one of the things I'm interested in.''

Barker said there is ""too much confusion and uncertainty'' about the project, known as the Oklahoma Financial Information System. He said officials do not ""have a clear idea of where we are and where we are going.''

He wants a panel of lawmakers and others to study the project during the summer and recommend ""whether it's worth the cost.''

Nigh said he would favor an immediate study, to get the Finance Information System appropriation passed this year.

""That's probably not going to happen,'' Barker said.

The Muskogee Democrat said he doubted there would be sufficient time before adjournment to conduct an appropriate study.

""I may not be as sold on the project as the governor,'' he added.

Barker said he's uncertain whether the program actually would save the state $60 million a year as claimed originally by its promoters.

The computer project is designed to update and integrate the state's accounting and financial reporting systems.

Barker said the project might cost $30 million to $40 million, instead of the $15 million projected.

The 1984 Legislature appropriated $5.7 million for the project this fiscal year.

The speaker said the state has not had people with ""the proper education or experience'' involved in the project.

He said state employees might be able to write the computer programs needed, instead of contracting the work out to consultants.

Barker also says he had heard complaints from potential bidders that the state was too heavily involved with IBM computers for others to have a fair chance at winning a contract on the project. …

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