The State Worker

California lawmaker renews call for state computer system probe

A lawmaker has renewed her call for an audit of a 9-month-old computer system blamed for costing nursing school graduates job opportunities.

In a letter to the Legislature’s audit committee released Tuesday, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, asked for an examination of the Department of Consumer Affair’s BreEZe computer system. The program launched last fall, aiming to streamline nursing school graduate applications for the licensing test, among other things. Instead, application backlogs increased. Some nursing school graduates said they lost hospital job opportunities earlier this year because they hadn’t taken their licensing exams.

“While I applaud efforts to improve services, functionality and customer/stakeholder experience, the exact opposite has occurred with the ... launch of BreEZe,” Olsen wrote in her letter. “It is simply unacceptable for people to be held in limbo due to failed technology implementations. We need to get people through the system and into the workforce.”

Olsen submitted a similar audit request earlier this year then withdrew it because, she said, an in-depth review would disrupt the department’s operations and worsen application backlogs.

Consumer Affairs spokesman Russ Heimerich said in an Tuesday afternoon email that the department eliminated the lengthy backlog in February and is now processing applications within its pre-BreEZe standard of three to four weeks.

“Should there be an audit,” Heimrich said in the email, “the department would welcome the opportunity to work with the auditors.”