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File illustration picture of computer keyboard with letters stacked forming the word  File illustration picture of computer keyboard with letters stacked forming the word 'password' taken in Warsaw, December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files  

Report: Colorado’s $58 Million Computer Upgrade To Be An ‘Epic Failure’

Greg Campbell
Contributor

A $58 million overhaul to Colorado’s computer accounting system, performed by the same company blamed for the meltdown of HealthCare.gov, is poised to be an “epic failure,” according to an anonymous whistle-blower who spoke to Denver’s Fox 31.

The system, which is supposed to go online on July 1, isn’t ready and won’t perform as promised, the insider told the station.

Known as the Colorado Operations and Resource Engine (CORE), the system is meant to handle everything from benefits payments to taxes to vendor services, but Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler called it a “disaster in the making.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered the overhaul because the current version of the software is badly outdated.

Century Link and CGI designed the system; CGI also created the Obamacare website which performed dismally when the new health care law rolled out in October.

“The way it’s being executed is ill-conceived and it’s been doomed for failure since its inception,” the whistle-blower, whose identity was concealed on Monday’s broadcast, told Fox 31.

The station obtained documents from the governor’s Office of Information Technology showing that CORE was only 65 percent complete as of May, crashes excessively and is “behind schedule with no approved recover plan(s) identified.”

On the paperwork, the project is flagged as red — the worst rating.

In May, Gessler sent a letter to Hickenlooper telling him the system was “nowhere near ready to launch.”

“The switchover to a new system should wait — otherwise, you will be entrusting critical accounting and financial controls to an untested and unprepared system,” he wrote. “It is a disaster in the making.”

“They’re going to flip it on,” he told Fox 31. “It’s not going to work very well. People aren’t going to be able to use it. It’s not fully tested. We warned the governor, saying there are some real problems.”

Among those problems, the insider said, are serious security flaws that could expose taxpayer’s personal data to hackers.

State authorities didn’t respond to Fox 31′s request for an interview, but a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration, which is overseeing the project, said in a letter to the station that delaying the software rollout wasn’t an option because Colorado’s fiscal year begins on July 1.

By July 7, the old system currently keeping track of the state’s expenses and revenues will be turned off for good.

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