King County Executive Ron Sims' plan to replace the county's aged accounting and payroll computer systems will, if successful, take more than a decade longer than originally planned and cost three times as much.
The total cost is now estimated at $137 million, Metropolitan King County Council staffers told the council's budget committees. ....
Now slated for completion in 2012, the project is intended to replace systems that were installed in the 1970s and that use the old COBOL programming language.
....It's Sims' second attempt to replace the old computer systems. The first try, known as the Financial Systems Replacement Program, was begun in 1997 and was shut down in 2000 after burning through $42 million without getting the job done. A new payroll system covering about one-third of county employees was installed, and the accounting system wasn't put into service at all.
....Determined not to repeat past errors, the county has set up a dizzying array of groups: a project leadership committee, an external advisory committee, a project review board, a capital-project oversight office, a management team, a committee to advise the team, and an operations and change-management committee.
With that level of review, Sims said last week, he's "absolutely" confident the renewed project will succeed. "We have to do it," he said.
Oh, we're confident too, Ron.