Calif. IT department all shook up over contract audit

Calif. IT department all shook up over contract audit

California Gov. Gray Davis yesterday accepted the resignation of Arun Baheti, California's director of e-government, and suspended state CIO Elias Cortez in the wake of an audit of a $95 million, six-year enterprise software contract with Oracle Corp.

Vin Patel, director of executive information systems, will serve as interim director of e-government, Davis said. Robert Dresser, the IT Department's chief counsel, will act as interim director.

The state auditor said a contract was awarded without competitive bids for Oracle software that no state workers were using almost a year later. The auditor found that the contract cost taxpayers $41 million more than if the state had bought single copies of the unidentified software without an enterprise contract.

Baheti wrote in his resignation letter that it was 'clear that at this time the best thing I can do is leave the administration. While I was briefed on the Oracle contract and supported the concept of an enterprise licensing agreement, it is apparent in retrospect that I should have more vociferously raised questions about the details.'

His departure came on the heels of last week's resignation by Barry Keene, director of the state's General Services Department. In his resignation letter, Keene wrote that he approved the contract with Oracle 'the day after a serious and destabilizing development in my marital relationship.'

In a related incident, the governor's legal affairs office yesterday received a report of possible document shredding at the department. Barry Goode, legal affairs secretary to Davis, directed officials to cease any shredding immediately, if it was occurring. Goode then asked attorney general Bill Lockyer to begin investigating the incident.

Lockyer dispatched the state highway patrol to secure all the department's document shredders and trash.

'While we had no conclusive evidence that any shredding or destruction of documents occurred, the mere suggestion that it may have occurred has led us to take these steps,' Goode wrote in a statement.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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