Monday, April 26, 2010
Case Management System Should Proceed, Agency Says
By Kenneth Ofgang, Staff Writer
The state’s technology oversight agency Friday recommended that the troubled California Court Management System go forward.
“The CCMS project has been challenged to date with scope, schedule and cost definition and control due to incomplete information, early lack of adherence to project management processes during the initiation stage, and the size and complexity of the effort,” the Office of the State Chief Information Officer said in a report requested last fall by the Legislature.
“Despite these setbacks and future risks, the OCIO believes the project is at a point where there is more reason to go forward than to stop the project,” the OCIO concluded.
CCMS supporters, in particular Chief Justice Ronald M. George, have insisted that the project—which would replace conflicting local systems described as “failing” by the OCIO—with a central platform connecting courts with each other, the public, and other government agencies—is vital to the long-term future of the courts.
Critics have called it a boondoggle and say the cost, originally projected at around $260 million, will ultimately run to about $2 billion, money they say should be used to keep local courts open and protect employees from job loss.
The Judicial Council last year diverted about $100 million in CCMS funding to court operations in order to blunt the impact of budget cuts. But officials have remained fully committed to CCMS.
“This has been an extremely beneficial process,” Administrative Director of the Courts William C. Vickrey said of the OCIO review. “We thank the expert team at the Office of the State Chief Information Officer for their careful review and recommendations.”
“We are very pleased that the OCIO recognizes the value of CCMS,” Vickrey added. “...With the continued support of leaders in all three branches of state government, we intend to bring this project to a successful conclusion for the courts, for our justice system partners, and, most importantly, for the public that we all serve.”
The OCIO challenged the courts to establish a governing structure that would assure that the courts actually use the use the system; develop a method for determining the actual cost, scope, and implementation schedule of the project; and develop a detailed plan for how and by whom CCMS will be implemented in its final phase.
The agency noted that CCMS has actually consisted of three separate products, the first of which ran into problems and was only implemented in Fresno County. The second product has been implemented in six counties, including Los Angeles, although it has been implemented here only in small claims court.
The final product, which the OCIO said “is currently in the integration testing phase,” will extend throughout the state and throughout the traffic, criminal, civil, probate, small claims, mental health and family and juvenile operations of the court, the report said. It will also link to the state Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, local law enforcement, social services agencies, and the prison system.
The Administrative Office of the Courts has said the system can be fully functional by 2016.
A spokesperson for court workers who have criticized CCMS said Friday she had been in meetings all day and had not yet read the report. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles Horan, a director of the Alliance of California Judges, could not be reached for comment.
Horan earlier this year criticized the chief justice and the AOC for being overly fixated on CCMS and construction projects at the expense of court operations,
“As good as those might be, we just don’t have the money,” Horan said at the time.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company