Tarrant County Auditors Question Progress On Software Upgrade
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.