FSC suggests staff training for financial software

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Dialogue about the city’s information system software dominated the internal services portion of last Thursday afternoon’s meeting. Recommendations pulled for discussion dealt with bringing a consultant in to train employees or better program software “to improve the quantity and quality of management reports available to manage the city’s finances” (recommendation number 76) and having “city staff investigate all options for improved financial information programs or systems” (recommendation number 78). Committee member Larry Whitaker remarked that recommendation 76 “… is an extremely important finding and recommendation.” “I think this is pointing to the fact that we have an insufficient IT system in the city,” Whitaker said. “The IT system, from my experience, is deficient for a city of this size.” Internal services subcommittee chairman Don Wall responded, “We didn’t feel in the position to say it’s totally deficient.” “We don’t know what the system is capable of and if the staff is fully trained,” Wall said. Whitaker said his concern “is recommending they do training on a system that is not adequate.” Committee member Dan Karleskint said he thought the city’s financial reporting software “is sufficient.” “Because of staff limitations, (there is) lack of time to make the system sing,” Karleskint said. “Get a consultant or vendor that knows the system and let him say you can do that easily or can’t.” Wall pulled recommendation number 78 to discuss it in further detail. “We had, as part of that recommendation if it’s determined we need a new system, we need to develop an RFP (request for proposal) for a new system,” Wall said. One suggestion for developing that request was made by committee member Richard MacKirdy. He suggested having volunteers perform that task. Tom Sinclair, the committee’s consultant, brought up three “issues.” “Are there consultants that understand the city’s software? If you decide this financial system is not appropriate and want to go out for an RFP, there is a consultant who can construct the RFP,” Sinclair said. “Do you need somebody to come in and tell you what reports you need? Yes, there are people who can come in and tell you what reports you need to manage the financial situation.” Committee member Mike Miller said recommendation number 78 is “a step should we determine the system is unacceptable.” Both recommendations were approved by the full fiscal sustainability committee.