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Government Officials Say New System Will Bring Efficiency

Jan. 12, 2006 – The government's long-awaited new computerized financial management system is about to become a reality.
"We'll have greater efficiency," Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull said Thursday, summing up with that one word – efficiency — what the new system will do for the territory.
She said there will be no more excuses as to why information is not available. Turnbull said the system will have the ability to disseminate information throughout all levels of government.
"It is going to transform the government," she said.
The new system, which will cost $4.5 million, will replace a financial management system that's been in use since 1988.
Turnbull said a team of people from several government agencies picked the company, Tyler/Munis, for several reasons.
"The biggest was that it was able to capture all the information we needed," she said.
She added that the system was user-friendly and the company had more than 27 years experience working with municipal and state governments.
Turnbull said that a team of staff from the departments of Finance, Property and Procurement, Human Services, Education, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Planning and Natural Resources, as well as the Management and Budget Office, the Internal Revenue Bureau, and the lieutenant governor's office worked on the selection process, which began in 2004.
Turnbull said the team looked at five companies, took another look at three of them and finally decided on the two finalists before picking Tyler/Munis. Turnbull said proposals from the five bidders ranged from $4 million to $8.6 million.
The new software, called Enterprise Resource Planning System, brings together the government's general ledger, accounts receivable, human resources, payroll, budgeting, reconciliation, and tax functions.
"We looked at the whole gamut," Turnbull said.
The major advantages include data consolidation, greater efficiency, and the ability to disseminate information through all levels of an organization.
"It is anticipated that the ERP system will transform the government into a lower-cost, higher-performing organization that focuses on continuous improvement and customer service," Gov. Charles Turnbull said in a news release.
Implementation is expected to start in February, with startup for the financial portion of the package in October. The human resources and payroll modules are expected to come online in June 2007.
The finance commissioner said that employees will take classes to help them adapt to the new system.
Funding came from the Public Finance Authority and two legislative appropriations.
In other financial news, Delegate Donna M. Christensen's aide, Brian Modeste, said that the federal bill to create a chief financial officer position for the territory is still pending before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
He said that the committee expects to hold a hearing on the financial management aspects of all the territories, but not the Virgin Islands chief financial officer.
However, he said he anticipates the issue will come up.
"The delegate intends to leave no stone unturned in getting it passed," Modeste said.
He said no date for the hearing has been set, but he's "heard" it may be in February.
The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives March 14, 2005.
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