What Budget Problems?

Today, the powers that be decreed that any claims for travel reimbursement in the Department of Corrections—that were submitted within a certain period of time—will be approved with no verification.  Unless a CalATERS claim fails the “smell test” of an auditor the claim will be approved and any supporting documents will be audited at a later date. This is supposed to be implemented on a department-wide basis.

This initiative seems to originate from the State Controller’s Office as a way to fix the fact that the CalATERS program cannot handle the load or number of users from CDCR. The number of man-hours wasted on this program would likely pay for one that could do the job.

Meanwhile the “hard freeze” on travel is still in effect.

Update 02-24-2010 free pass period seems to be primarily for January 2010. Per email today goal is shedding 3,000 claims ASAP to reduce load on system.
This seems like a Band-Aid for systemic program design failure.

Out of Touch Arnold

Schwarzenegger says last year’s $862 billion stimulus plan is “terrific” and has created 150,000 jobs in his state…”—AP 2/21/2010

Hey Arnold, the stimulus bill has created no new jobs in the private sector in California and we all know it. If you really want to create jobs in California, turn on the water to the Central Valley farmers and tell the federal judge to go pound sand.

California Correction’s Hard Freeze on Spending

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is implementing a hard freeze on spending as a temporary step to address a significant anticipated fiscal shortfall. The following areas are immediately frozen:
• Hiring
• Training
• Travel
• Contracts for discretionary services
• Purchases
• Overtime for Administration

“The hard freeze will remain in effect until such time as the Department is able to prioritize and then establish a system for authorizing expenditures.”

Unions Attack Whitman

Union front groups have started running ads against Meg Whitman because she is being supported by big business and she opposes global warming.

The unions have 40 million to spend tampering with the Republican primary and their two biggest complaints about Meg are those! If that is their best shot, then Meg has little to fear from the Left. What a waste of money. Any business that supports a Democrat deserves to fail. Any rational person that supports AB 32 should not be allowed to vote because their IQ is negative.

The union motto should be Democrats: same old playbook, same old politicians, same old results.

Ok who is older? Jerry Brown or Robert Byrd

CalATERS Crawl

I work for an obscure part of the accounting department within the California Department of Corrections (CDCR). We have three computer systems used for various accounting functions. None of the computers can talk to each other. At best data from one system can be batch dumped into another system.

The mainframe system seems like it was state-of-the-art when Ronald Reagan was President. Much of accounting is done via a program from SAP. Travel expenses are done via a custom application designed for Windows XP. This program runs in a Java sandbox.”

Recently, the “sandbox” has gotten filled. Hundreds of man-hours are wasted just trying to log-on to the system. This program is the primary application that people in my unit are supposed to be running. Lately, many in my office have gone a day or two at a time without being able to log-on or process travel claims.

The ultimate organization that controls this program is the State Controller’s Office (SCO). Unfortunately, SCO is caught with their cyber pants around their ankles and a look of bewilderment. Instead of being prepared for a department wide implementation of the program by CDCR, they have been caught unaware.

Now this program has been in its current form since 2001. Requiring all institutions to use the program was a deliberate decision and I’m confident that SCO said no problem when they heard CDCR would begin requiring the use of the program. Only about 26,000 people in the department are even registered users. That’s less than 1/3 of CDCR employees.

SCO supposedly upgraded their servers and maxed-out RAM in the system last week-end. It has resulted in no noticeable improvement in the functioning of the travel program. The bottom line is that there are too many users trying to connect simultaneously and the system—no doubt built with millions in tax dollars by the lowest bidder—is unable to handle the real world conditions.

It will be interesting to see how the long this situation persists.