EDD emails highlight problems with new system

5:29 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - The problems continue for nearly 800,000 jobless Californians who depend on the California Employment Development Department's broken computer system to get paid.

Documents showed that the $100 million computer program built by EDD and its contractor Deloitte Consulting was never working correctly. Numerous EDD employees said parts of the system were not passing tests until the system was released Labor Day weekend.

RELATED STORY: $100 million EDD payment system broken from the start, insiders say

Emails, obtained by News10, show how managers and employees had different views about the new operating program called the California Unemployment Benefit Services system, or CUBS.

In one email, Project Manager James Duckens told EDD staff, "Congratulations Everyone, This is a huge milestone for all and represents many years of effort."

On Monday, an EDD employee said managers even took time a few days before CUBS was released to let everyone know how proud they were.

"We had parties. We had celebrations. We had contests," the employee said. "We all knew it wasn't gonna go live. When it actually did go live we were shocked."

The whistle-blower, who works daily on the broken program, said they warned supervisors along with coworkers that CUBS was slow, had glitches and was not ready to be released.

In emails released by EDD on Tuesday, Employment Program Representative Adolfo Jimenez, who has the same position, responded to one of those "Congratulations" emails with, "Don't pat yourselves on the back don't congradulate (sic) yourself nor others. CUBS does not work."

Jimenez added, "Everyone is having problems with cubs. I emailed the Governor about this problem with cubs."

In a follow up email, Jimenez's boss Donald Owens wrote, "Mr. Jimenez has been counseled regarding the nature of the email and the proper chain of command."

When that taxpayer-funded system was released, it created a backlog of unpaid unemployment payments so large, that once EDD tried to catch up on the payments, the US Department of Labor even blamed it for helping create an increase in the national unemployment rate.

The emails tell more about the EDD's PR spin after reporters started asking questions about the broken system. EDD Spokesperson Loree Levy emailed to Information Technology Branch Deputy Director Gail Overhouse describing how she "tap danced" around reporters' questions and how one reporter has "only scratched the surface" in their digging for information.

Documents requested by News10 via a California Public Records Act request three weeks ago have not been fulfilled by Levy. She said the documents contain sensitive material and have to be approved by lawyers. The request asked for documents like defect reports showing what was going wrong with CUBS as it was constructed, other document were weekly status updates.

EDD employees provided News10 with some paperwork; those documents do not include any information considered private under the California Public Records Act. 


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