Metro inspector general finds troubles with IT contract

The inspector general for Metro criticized an information technology program the transit agency bought from a contractor for not properly tracking spending and said Metro did a poor job in managing the project, according to a recent audit.

Metro hired Metaformers in July 2010 to come up with a program to make a “single, enterprise-wide information system” for $9.1 million. But the contract has been modified seven times, the inspector general said, and as of June 2012 cost $14 million.

Metaformers has not responded to a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

In the 39-page report, the inspector general found problems with how money was tracked, saying Metro used “operating funds to pay for capital expenditures without the corresponding reimbursement from grants.”

In one instance, it found Metro “borrowed at least $129 million” to “replenish the operating funds deficit.”

The inspector general also called Metro’s move to “re-engineer, and integrate” a major technology change in 12 months “unrealistic and not predicated on sound methodologies.”

It said that Metro personnel told them the project was “flawed from the beginning and fell victim to poor management execution.” The report also criticized Metro for not having a “formalized and detailed preplan” for the project.

The inspector general said it also found incomplete work. Several “construction and initial testing activities” were “shown as 100 percent completed,” when in fact the inspector general found that “these reports did not exist.”

In response, Metro said in a letter to the inspector general that since the report “the project has continued to successfully evolve and many of the issues raised were common transitional challenges of a project of this size and have since been remedied.”

The inspector general has done several audits looking at Metro’s information technology efforts and said the agency has spent $72 million since 2002 trying to develop an integrated system for its various departments.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.

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