- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Gov. Scott Walker’s administration has signed a $58 million information technology contract with Accenture, the same company that was paid millions of dollars but failed to deliver a fully functional voter registration system to the state seven years ago.

Deputy Department of Administration Secretary Chris Schoenherr told The Associated Press on Thursday that Accenture learned from its mistakes that led to the voter registration contract being canceled in 2007.

Wisconsin awarded Accenture the contract to oversee a previously delayed complete overhaul of the state’s various computer systems last month. Accenture scored higher than the only other bidder, Cherry Road, and the bid process was reviewed by an independent law firm and found to be fair and impartial.

Accenture is one of the country’s largest technology consulting firms. President Barack Obama’s administration recently turned to Accenture to take over control of running the much-maligned federal health insurance website.

Still, Democrats raised concerns.

“Given their spotty track record I’m worried taxpayers are going to get ripped off again,” said Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine.

Schoenherr likened Accenture’s job on the voter registration contract in Wisconsin to a football team that loses some games in the regular season but is still good enough to play in the Super Bowl.

“We expect them to bring their A team, bring their A game, and have a Super Bowl-level performance,” Schoenherr said.

In a statement Thursday, Accenture said the company is working on thousands of projects with private and public sector clients worldwide at any given time. In fiscal year 2012, Accenture was involved with more than 4,000 clients in 120 countries including more than 80 of the Fortune 100, the company said.

“In the rare instances when projects we are involved in encounter challenges, Accenture is known for collaborating closely with clients to reach the best possible outcome,” the company said.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, of Kenosha, said there should be some level of legislative oversight to make sure taxpayer money isn’t wasted given Accenture’s record in the state and past problems with other information technology projects.

“We don’t ever seem to get it right,” Barca said.

Wisconsin’s elections board and the company reached a settlement in 2007 in which included Accenture agreed to pay $4 million to avoid a lawsuit. The Government Accountability Board had paid the company about $9 million before ending the deal because elections officials said it had not created a fully functional voter registration system.

Colorado, Florida, Kansas, and Wyoming also canceled contracts with Accenture over delays in delivering similar systems.

Accenture’s $58 million contract on the new Wisconsin information technology project is more than four-times bigger than the voter registration one.

Story Continues →