Staggering Mismanagement Prompts Lara and Lowenthal to Call for Dismissal of CCMS Administrative Officer

February 24, 2011

Audit reveals $2 billion projected price tag for Courts Information Technology System's (CCMS)

SACRAMENTO – In a letter written to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye; Assembly Member Ricardo Lara, Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, (D-Bell Gardens) and Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal, (D-Long Beach) requestor of a recent audit, call for Administrative Officer William Vickrey's dismissal. Staggering mismanagement starting in 2004 and ballooning costs propelled the request days after a Joint Oversight Hearing on the viability of the California Court Case Management System (CCCMS).

"The gross mismanagement of the CCMS project is confounding," said Assembly Member Lara. "The Legislative Analyst warned Vickrey of mismanagement, lack of planning and oversight back in 2004. These issues have not been resolved and the only thing that seems to be moving full speed ahead is the cost. It is time for a fundamental change. Enough is enough."

The CCMS project, which according to the State Auditor may soon reach a $2 billion price tag, is behind the request for immediate change in leadership. The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) under the leadership of Administrative Officer William Vickrey was charged in 2003 with the improvement of the judicial system's access, quality and timeliness after finding over 200 varieties of case management systems in use by superior courts statewide. Since then, CCMS project contracts have been amended more than 100 times and their costs have increased by 700%.

"We're offering the new chief justice some sincere advice that we think will help her have a truly successful tenure," said Lowenthal. "We don't make this suggestion lightly. We think changing the top layers of that bureaucracy will solve a lot of problems."

Last week's Joint Oversight Hearing focused on the State Auditor's most current findings and recommendations found that the AOC inadequately planned the project and that it lacked a clear business plan as well as a cost benefit analysis to ensure that CCMS would be the most cost-effective solution for the court's needs. The audit also highlighted troublesome findings regarding additional significant costs and risks associated with the ongoing implementation of the system. The Administrative Office of the Courts had the opportunity to respond to the audit report.

The attached letter to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye was delivered this morning.

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