Tarrant County Auditors Question Progress On Software Upgrade

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Tarrant County auditors filed a report on Oct. 31 questioning technology contracts awarded to a Southlake company that has failed to upload the software it was paid to create online.

“We were concerned about what kind of checks and balances, what kind of internal controls were present,” said Tarrant County auditor Renee Tidwell.

The county has paid XPedient Technologies about $4 million to create a system so that the courthouse, jail and other parts of the justice system can share records and communicate better with each other. County officials did not give XPedient a deadline on when to have the software finished.

This computer records system will be an upgraded version of what the county district attorney’s office uses now. Prosecutors said they’ve needed the upgrade for a long time.

“Cases are filed pretty instantaneous,” said Tracey Kapsidelis, a spokeswoman with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. “It makes my job extremely easy.”

The county paid about $500,000 to a different company in 2005 to have the current software developed.

XPedient Technologies has been paid a total of $4 million to develop countywide upgrades to that software, $3 million of which has come since 2008. The new software is still not online, and there is nothing in place to determine whether the county has received value for the amount of its investment, the report says.

“Obviously, we have concerns about this,” said Tarrant County Administrator G.K. Maenius.

But even with these concerns, Maenius defends the work done to this point.

“We believe that, the money we spent, we have a known product. It’s simply not in production,” he said.

The auditor’s report also questions the county employee in charge of the project.

“The IT project manager had almost complete, if not too much, authority, in my opinion,” Tidwell said.

The I.T. Manager is on paid administrative leave while the district attorney’s office investigates some questionable travel reports he filed related to this project.

“Nobody was verifying,” said Precinct 1 County Commissioner Roy C. Brooks. “Nobody was providing oversight.

The auditor’s report said the project manager made multiple trips out of town and billed the county when he stayed at his wife’s timeshare condominium.

“One incident like this has brought us low,” Brooks said. “It has the effect of blackening our reputation.”

The owner of XPedient Technologies, John Bergman, would not comment on the subject.

“He is not going to talk unless there is someone from the county present, because he wants to be sure that the conversation involves everybody relevant,” said company spokesman Dalton Franklin.

XPedient Technologies is also ranked as “not in good standing” with the state comptroller’s office for not filing adequate tax reports.

The county hopes to begin using some elements of this software upgrade in January.


One Comment

  1. Lyn C. Cromwell, CDP says:

    I watched your piece on the Ten O’clock news November 22, 2010. You are chasing the owner of XPedient Technologies for answers as to when the software will be available online. It seems to me you should be following the money to determine who wrote the contract with XPedient. And asking them why they left the contract open ended the way they did. Why there weren’t defined checkpoints for specific review. And when those checkpoints weren’t met, why the Tarrant County DA’s office paid the next installment. They are the people who made the mistakes here. An after the fact audit report presented to the County Commissioners will not get back the over payments, nor will it correct the inept behavior of the Tarrant County DA’s office. You should point out this fact as part of your story.

    If the Audit Report is as vague and incomplete as all of the other audit reports I have read, it will tell the County Commissioners exactly nothing. They will have no idea of how the situation got as bad as it is. They will not know how so much money got paid to XPedient with so little results. And they will have no idea how to prevent such situations from happening to any other Tarrant County Administrative offices. This is also a fact you should point put in your story. Because I am sure the Commissioners will gladly grab camera time to expound on how the owner of XPedient is taking all of this money and producing not very little results. Yet it is they and their administrative staff who are really to blame.

    I will be happy to educate you and the County Commissioners on System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the key points of software contract writing so this doesn’t happen again. Properly written application requirements with coordinated contract checkpoints would have prevented the embarrassment the Tarrant County DA’s office is now bring on themselves and the County Commissioners.

    In addition to having 35 years of system design and implementation I also have a Certificate in Paralegal Studies.

    Lyn C. Cromwell, CDP
    2813 Capella Circle
    Garland, TX 75044-6229

    1. skcrna says:

      Did you provide your resume?

  2. Just Me says:

    Theres way more going on than this story reveals, i can tell you that Lyn is close to part of it but there is WAY more than is being let out…………

  3. dmarti says:

    Of course XPedient is to blame. I’m not saying the IT manager isn’t to blame, rather he/she is quite inept. HOWEVER, XPedient owner wrote a contract with Tarrant County, and HE is the one who is not abiding by the terms of the contract. Paralegal or lay-person, everyone knows that breach of contract is illegal, and is punishable in civil court.

    Nevertheless, the Tarrant County Commissioners should look into the transactions between the IT Dept. and XPedient. It’s sad to think that the group as a whole would not have known what was going on without this story. Looks like egg in the face for the Commissioners and DA’s Office.

Comments are closed.

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