- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Anchorage’s troubled city software project for automating payroll and other government functions should be audited by an external party, according to an assemblywoman.

Amy Demboski, who voted to reject an outside audit a year ago, has requested $200,000 for the independent review, the Alaska Dispatch News (http://bit.ly/1oGXAk3) reported.

“With all the money at stake, we have to have an independent look at it to make sure we know what we’re doing,” said Demboski, who is running for mayor.

The municipality has contracted with Germany-based SAP for the payroll software. The project is more than two years behind schedule, and the budget is $31.6 million, more than three times what was planned.

Demboski also wants a review of Kronos, the timekeeping system that cost $1.2 million and was put into use last year.

The decision to request the audit was based on a work session last month where the city’s chief fiscal officer, Kate Giard, described concern and uncertainty about the project.

She said her weeks of observation did not reveal how much the project would cost or when it would be implemented completely. She also doubted whether the SAP system could properly calculate payroll.

Assemblywoman Elvi Gray-Jackson was co-sponsor of the previous call for an audit.

“I’m glad to see the rest of my colleagues, for the most part, realizing, ‘No, we have to not sit back and just let this happen,’” Gray-Jackson said.

Mayor Dan Sullivan opposes an external audit. Giard, he said in an email through a spokesman, is doing a 60-day analysis.

“After receiving her report, if the Assembly needs additional information, then that would be the appropriate time to request it,” he said.

Incomplete implementation of the previous system led to inefficiencies, he said.

“SAP will be fully implemented and will serve the city well for many years but it is important that we not lose momentum as we near project completion,” Sullivan said.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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