Santa Fe knows it needs to modernize how it delivers government to its residents, employees and vendors. And leaders adopted a spendy plan to do just that during the last mayoral administration.
But following a less-than-glowing evaluation of the modernization plan, new leaders are restructuring a vital update to the inner workings of government, known as an enterprise resource program. Much of the ERP, dubbed Project ¡Andale! by former Mayor Javier Gonzales, involves improving software that the city uses to conduct business. It impacts the computer systems that run everything from water bills to building permits to timecards to how the city tracks its finances—a major issue in recent years.
Mayor Alan Webber explained at a news conference Wednesday that recently hired Finance Director Mary McCoy asked for an outside review of the implementation, which found that the city needs to make major changes to the ERP's planning and management structure, including the development of a comprehensive timeline and budget.
"Not completing this work is not an option," said Webber. "If we continue to do things the way we've been doing them, the program is at risk of failure."
The entire undertaking was expected to take eight years and cost more than $8 million. McCoy estimated $3.7 million had been spent so far, but didn't have a breakdown of those costs readily available. She's expected to update the city Finance Committee next week with a more detailed assessment of the project's cost and, likely, what future spending might total.
Both finance and human resources elements of the program are behind schedule.
The city's outside project manager, BerryDunn has a $1.3 million contract with the city. The Maine-based company has invoiced for just shy of $1 million. City officials wouldn't characterize that amount as wasted money, pointing to the new implementation of timekeeping and scheduling software, as well as progress on a new system for the Land Use Department and a citywide operating system update to Windows 10. However, the recommendation of an on-site project manager doesn't bode well for the company.
"We will be reevaluating the role of BerryDunn going forward," the mayor said Wednesday. The company's contract has been amended several times, with the cost increasing substantially from the original amount. Webber also took some heat when it became clear that the then-city manager had handed out ill-advised pay raises in association with the project.