Rhode Island Governor Freezes New State Government IT Projects

What will this mean in practice for state agencies trying to move into the digital age?

by Patrick Anderson, The Providence Journal, R.I. / February 16, 2017
Gov. Gina Raimondo Photo by David Kidd
Gov. Gina Raimondo (Photos by David Kidd)

(TNS) -- PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Gov. Gina Raimondo is concerned enough with Rhode Island's ability to pull off large technology projects that she's freezing new information technology launches until the state can figure out the best way to do them, she said Wednesday in a post-mortem on problems with state's new public benefits computer system.

"One of my major takeaways is, I am going to put a pause on all major IT rollouts in the state...; and we need to rethink how we do IT," Raimondo told reporters. "Because this is too familiar of a story all over the country and I would like to see Rhode Island get it right next time."

What will this mean in practice for state agencies trying to move into the digital age?

In the short term, probably not much, according to Raimondo administration officials.

The only major state IT project nearing a launch is the new Division of Motor Vehicles computer system, which was nearing completion in December when the state and contractor Hewlett-Packard went to court over who would pay for cost overruns. No trial date has been set.

The Division of Taxation is wrapping up a $25 million computer modernization system, but the last of the project's three major phases launched in November.

Raimondo said one of the main lessons from the troubled United Health Infrastructure Project was that the state needed to bolster its in-house IT staff and become less reliant on contractors.

The governor's office had few details Wednesday about this plan to expand the state's tech capabilities.

Raimondo spokesman David Ortiz said the state will soon seek a permanent replacement for chief technology officer Thom Guertin, who resigned last month while drawing criticism from Raimondo for UHIP.

©2017 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.