The State Worker

California controller seeks $4.8 million to fund litigation over failed payroll system

A computer server room.
A computer server room. AP

Locked in a finger-pointing lawsuit over a failed state IT project, State Controller Betty Yee has asked lawmakers for $4.8 million to cover court court costs through the end of this year.

That’s on top of $6.8 million spent on litigation during the last six months of 2015. The project, MyCalPays, was suspended in February 2013.

A bill summarizing Yee’s request for more money was posted online Wednesday by the state Department of Finance.

Then-Controller John Chiang axed the project three years ago after an eight-month test run fouled up 1,300 state employees’ pay in a variety of ways: wage underpayments and overpayments, employee-insurance and pension deduction errors and missed child-support payments.

100The number of different deflects that emerged during testing of the MyCalPays system in 2012-13

Chiang blamed Pennsylvania-based IT giant SAP, the second MyCalPays contractor he had fired in four years. The tech firm countered that it lived up to the terms of its contract and that the state was at fault.

Yee inherited the battle when she took office last year. Controller’s Office spokeswoman Taryn Kinney said that if the state wins, SAP will have to pay 1 1/2 times the contract amount, or about $156 million.

SAP says that the state owes about $55 million for work the company performed.