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Some quick hits:

  • My column today is here. This one took a lot longer to pull together than I’m used to. Let me know if you have any questions. It’s going to require a lot of follow up, some of which should come this week.

    I talked to City Councilwoman Donna Frye about it. I’ll go through those notes asap.

    And you, readers, as always, have some interesting things to say. One of you already got me thinking tonight.

    While the city can identify a fixed cost to buy the software and hire the contractors needed to implement this new computer system — “the largest City information technology project the city’s ever undertaken” — it can’t wrap its arms around the cost of all the dozens of employees it has working full time on the effort.

    But it’s bigger than even that. Here’s reader MP on how the city’s push for a new computer system is affecting their department:

    Good story on the ERP system.  I was wondering if that issue would ever hit the light of day.  Besides the employees working fulltime, there have been others drawn into it.  I happen to be a “change champion” — a group that was formed in late spring to help get the word about the new system, get employees to accept it, look at working through the changes, etc.  We had a rush project to complete “readiness plans” by September 30.  It seems right after that everything slowed way down.  It wasn’t until last week that we were told of the new dates for implementation.  I’ll believe it when I see it. 

    One of the problems I see as well is when they initially brought in SAP, the intent was to use it off the shelf with very few customizations.  But as time went on it was apparent that this wasn’t possible.   So they are managing to do a little customization on a shoe-string budget.  When SAP can’t do something, they call it “best management practices.”  Ha ha ha!  Right!

    Also, once the training phase kicks in, each department had to identify a staff member to be assigned to the ERP team for a “train the trainer” type session so that they could then go back and train departments.  So we will lose someone to ERP whenever that phase kicks in.

  • Lani Lutar, the CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, took my last post seriously and had an observation.

    She noted that the city of Chula Vista isn’t really facing something it’s never had to deal with. She sent over some charts. Even after the recent cuts, the city has about the same number of employees as it had in fiscal year 2004.

    But if the manager’s proposed cuts are realized, we’ll have to go back to the previous decade to see comparable staffing levels.

  • The U-T chimed in on our ongoing discussion about how the Democrats were able to win local City Council races.

    This observation caught my eye.

    In the city’s north coastal District 1, Democrat Sherri Lightner carried her neighborhood of La Jolla, long expected to be a stronghold after her years of service on community boards there.

    But the political newcomer also took the home turf of her Republican opponent, Phil Thalheimer, in Carmel Valley. It was also the neighborhood of her opponent in the primary, Marshall Merrifield.

SCOTT LEWIS

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