The following editorial appeared in the Fayetteville Observer:
State Chief Information Officer Chris Estes is calling for a new information technology agency. The idea comes with a $301 million price tag.
That’s a lot of money. Legislators may be wary after recent software glitches, delays and cost overruns plagued state operations, including the MILES vehicle inspection database, the NCFAST system for food stamps, the PowerSchool education records database and the Department of Revenue’s TIMS software.
But State Budget Director Lee Roberts has lent support to Estes’ plan to convert his office into a Cabinet-level position. It would have broad authority to avoid redundancy, reject waste and enforce consistent quality standards. Ideally, this would prevent boondoggles.
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Retiring Rep. Joe Tolson, a Tarboro Democrat who has long been one of the General Assembly’s IT leaders, thinks this could be a wise investment. “You will see the savings,” he said, “because you will get agencies talking to each other and not building their own system to do the same thing another system is already doing.”
The state spent $1.3 billion last year on IT, so savings could add up. The proposal appears worth considering. Given dubious tech spending by some local agencies, the same approach might make sense at the city and county levels, as well.
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