The state Industrial Relations Division of Nevada signed a contract back in 2008 for $243,000 in order to get a new computer system to issue health and safety permits. The system selected was the Versa System but now it is not working. On top of that there is a backlog of 5,000 boiler and elevator permits that need to be issued.
The division, which enforces Nevada’s occupational safety and health standards, is wanting to use $195,000 in its permit fees in order to replace the ineffective system. The only thing wrong with this is that it takes seven times as long to process a permit as the old system.
This, obviously, didn’t make the Legislative Interim Finance Committee too happy but they did end up approving the transfer of the non-general funds. Steven A. Horsford, Senate Majority Leader, said, ‘The bottom line is we paid $243,000 and there is nothing in the contract for liquidated damages.”
Horsford said that he didn’t understand why the contract was devoid of a provision to permit the state some recourse if things went bad. Debbie Smith, an Assemblywoman, stated that the state paid the money and still it is not going after Versa Systems. She stated, “I don’t want to let the company off the hook.”
Horsford also stated that this issue is going to be turned over to the Attorney General’s in order to take possible legal action. David Bobzien, another Assemblyman, called this a project “gone awry” and also said that there was a lack of quality assurances. Division Administrator Don Jayne said that the contract decisions were made before he arrived and were also decided by people other than himself in the State Department of Business and Industry.
IT Manager for Industrial Relations Grant Reynolds said, “None of us were here when the contract was put together.” The certain officials who approved the first contract with Versa Systems have not been identified. However, according to Jayne and Reynolds, things will be done differently this time. Specifically, Versa Systems will be replaced by Jurisdiction Online Boiler and Pressure Vessel Product.
The division also said that the historical average per permit is $100 which means there is about $500,000 waiting to be collected. The division said that it took two minutes to process an elevator or boiler permit before Versa. Now it takes 14 minutes to do the exact same task. This also means that it requires overtime pay and, possibly, hiring more staff members.
According to the division in its request to the finance committee, “Under the prior system a permit could be issued by going to one screen and tabbing into five areas for entry, while Versa requires viewing 19 screens and 57 mouse clicks to enter the required information.”
Source: Las Vegas Sun