Funding sought by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to an upgrade of New Jersey’s computer systems may not have been included in the state’s budget this year, but that hasn’t stopped Christie from making plans to overhaul IT in the Garden State.
The governor, who wanted $5.5 million in the state’s budget to modernize some of New Jersey’s worst computer operations, is thinking about consolidating the state’s IT operations, including giving a new chief technology office Cabinet-level status, according to a report on MyCentralJersey.com.
Currently New Jersey’s IT operations consist of various state department IT staffs working with an independent state office. But many large computer systems, including the state payroll system and MATRX, the 30-year old mainframe used by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) are woefully behind the times.
“It is truly an old jalopy,” Raymond Martinez, MVC’s chief administrator, told MyCentralJersey.com. “I hope it works every morning when we turn on the key.”
Earlier this summer, MVC computers crashed twice, frustrating legislators and citizens. While legislators rallied to hold a budget committee meeting to discuss the computer issues frustrating MVC, ultimately, Christie’s funding request was not included in New Jersey’s budget.
MyCentralJersey.com reported that the age and condition of New Jersey’s computer systems have been the butt of jokes from state officials all summer. Sen. Steven Oroho, R-Sussex, referenced the use of old Commodore 64 computers regarding when MVC’s MATRX was first used.
Although MATRX is undergoing a current $51 million upgrade that will be complete in 2012 — allowing New Jersey drivers to renew their licenses by mail and online — their usefulness will depend on other aging systems and infrastructure in the department.
“So if I have a brand new car, with a brand new engine that’s been rebuilt and it works, great, that’s not really going to help me if the road that I have to drive on is not built, if the traffic signals don’t work on that road, if there’s no gas stations, if there’s no stop signs,” Martinez told MyCentralJersey.com’s Michael Symons.