Saturday, September 15, 2018

MUNIS UPDATE by Larry Fillmore

During the last Town Council meeting on September 4, 2018, the Finance Director, Lydia Colston, updated the council on the assessment of the MUNIS system. If you remember in June, the council was trying to determine what to do with this software system. They decided to hire someone to come in and evaluate where the conversions was and what to do next.

Apparently, the assessment was completed costing the taxpayers approximately $4,400.00. According to Mrs. Colston, the conversion was going very slowly. It seems after nearly two years; there are NO departments up and full operational. However, Mrs. Colston believes she can have the financial services operational by October 1, 2018, payroll and licensing by next year and the financial piece, utility and tax billing by July 2019.

The firm that conducted the assessment offered the town to complete the installation for $186,000.00. I have performed many conversions in my career and I can tell you this is a steal. Without their assistance, I can almost guarantee you that by the end of the seven (7) contract this software package will not be FULLY operational. I understand that this is a great deal of tax dollars but: (1) it will be worth every penny and (2) it is unfair to saddle the installation and training of this software on our Finance Director; who has better things to do. The installation and training of any software conversion is a full-time job and the individuals performing this task must be 100% dedicated to the job at hand.

I can tell you from many years of experience, the town screwed this up from the beginning:

(1) The Town Manager and the Town Council did not seek out anyone with conversion experience to get their input.

(2) All conversions need to have the installation and training included in the original contract.

(3) Never enter into a multiply year contract prior to having seen how well the software package is working for your organization. The Town Manager, Diane Barnes, recommended to the Town Council to accept the software owners’ proposal for multiply years.
So how does the town recover from this self-infected mess? I recommend the town spend the additional tax dollars to the firm that conduct the assessment or the firm that sold the software package to the town and get the installation and training done as quickly as possible. The town is losing money every day this software is not fully operational. Because the town has no way to perform simple tasks without this software, it will take longer to perform these tasks by hand.

I do not like the Town Council spending our tax dollars uselessly but I feel that this expenditure is up front money and will save a great deal of money long term. Trying to have Mrs. Colston perform both the installation and training is absolutely crazy. Mrs. Colston has more than enough on her plate as the Finance Director alone.

A fully operational installation of MUNIS will enable the town to terminate the use of TRIO, which is the current software used in some areas. I believe by developing queries in MUNIS; it will eliminate the need to run two operating systems. The town has to pay for running two software packages at the same time. Eliminating the need for TRIO will save the town more money. This is another great mistake, I believe, the town has made.

As much as I regret saying this but the town needs to spend the money to correct the mess the Town Manager and the Town Council created.

Larry Fillmore

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