- Associated Press - Friday, May 24, 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Department of Revenue is trying to refill dozens of jobs that were eliminated last year when the state awarded two no-bid contracts to outsource its information technology work.

The department is working to rebuild its workforce after Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration canceled the contracts worth more than $110 million with CGI Technologies, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Revenue Secretary Mark Burghart said the agency wants to refill about 56 jobs and is encouraging some of the laid-off employees to return because they are experienced in handling tax processing. Several job openings are posted online.

“A number of them want to return, which we would encourage because they are experienced professionals and they know the system,” Burghart said. “It would be very beneficial to the state to have them back.”

The department eliminated the 56 positions last May as part of a contract with CGI to operate and enhance the agency’s tax systems. CGI hired some of the workers, while others took different jobs in government or retired.

Sarah LaFrenz, president of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, praised the decision to refill the jobs.

“It took more than a month to ruin all this, so it’s going to take more than a month to fix it. But it’s an excellent step in the right direction,” LaFrenz said.

In 2016 and 2017, Gov. Sam Brownback and Gov. Jeff Colyer’s administrations signed no-bid contracts with CGI amid concerns that tax collections regularly fell below expectations.

Kelly’s administration concluded that CGI’s work wasn’t adequate. Last year, CGI didn’t meet a key deadline, forcing the state to use an old system to process returns this year. Burghart said that if the state hadn’t returned to the old system, about 94,000 tax returns would still be unprocessed.

Kansas has paid CGI about $28 million so far. CGI didn’t reply to questions about how much money it believes it is still owed or what will happen to its Kansas-based employees. In a statement, the company said it was proud of the benefits it generated for Kansas, including recovering $46.4 million in new revenue in less than two years.


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

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