- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas officials are reviewing a contract with an Irish software company hired to build custom legislative software that some lawmakers say has been problematic.

The Wichita Eagle reports (https://bit.ly/1N8mwyG ) Kansas has paid Dublin-based Propylon $15.8 million since 2005 to build software and provide technical support for the Legislative Information Systems and Services. Legislative leaders have held off renewing the contract until the firm addresses problems with the software.

Senate President Susan Wagle said glitches in the software often forced staff members to work late during the 2015 session and delayed votes.

The state was initially slated to pay the firm $625,000 for this fiscal year, which began in July, but that remains up in the air. Lawmakers will make a final decision in December.

A special committee made up of the Senate president, the House speaker and the Democratic leaders of both chambers are reviewing the situation. Last week, the Legislature’s researchers, clerks and attorneys submitted documents outlining the problems.

Attorneys from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes identified numerous problems, including that language “sometimes completely disappears from the bill” while attorneys work on it and that formatting errors often occur.

“I don’t know how we go forward in spending taxpayer dollars without a written contract, knowing that this was dysfunctional last year,” Wagle said. “A document that says this is what our goal is, this is what we’re paying for, before any more money is spent. I don’t see how we do that without a written document that we put on record.”

Propylon CEO John Harrington says crews are putting plans in place to address the requests from state staff.

“The Kansas system has been in production for 5 years and has been modified by the State team several times since. We have fulfilled all of our contractual commitments during this period,” Harrington said in the e-mail. “I am happy to report that I have spoken with staff leadership and the State IT team is currently putting plans in place to address the requests from staff. These activities are being supported by Propylon under our current maintenance contract.”

House Speaker Ray Merrick says he’s pleased with progress so far in the state’s discussions with Propylon about addressing issues.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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