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UPDATE: City director disagrees with all auditor recommendations

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UPDATE: Richmond City Auditor Umesh Dalal said he is still waiting for official word from the city that it agrees with all recommendations his office made in an audit of the Richmond Department of Information Technology RAPIDS system.

Sharon Judkins, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer of finance and administration, oversees Richmond’s IT department.

She previously rejected all of the recommendations made by Dalal, and then accepted three out of the seven recommendations.

Judkins was not in attendance at Tuesday’s audit committee meeting where the recommendations were discussed once again, but her boss, Chief Administrative Officer Byron Marshall was there, along with the new head of the IT department.

Marshall insinuated to the audit committee that he’s implemented the recommendations, but Dalal told CBS6 that he is waiting to receive written documentation that Marshall agrees with the recommendations.

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The person in charge of implementing Richmond’s new $18 million information technology system disagreed with every single one of the city auditor’s recommendations in an audit of the Richmond Department of Information Technology RAPIDS system released Monday.

It is an audit that city council members have been requesting since May of 2012, ever since CBS6 interviewed a city hall whistleblower who called the project an enormous waste of taxpayer money.

RAPIDS is software designed to streamline city finances, but, according to the audit, employees are not properly trained on the system, invoices are not being paid on time, and employee leave is not being calculated accurately.

The city auditor also said in the report that his office faced significant challenges due to a lack of cooperation by the city.

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In fact, Sharon Judkins, the city’s deputy chief administrative officer of finance and administration and the person overseeing the project, tried to stop the audit, citing excessive cost and a strain on city resources.

Richmond City Council President Charles Samuels said it felt like the city’s administration tried to stonewall city council.

“It’s one of the things that I would say is the most frustrating that I’ve had to deal with in my time as a city council person, and that is requesting information and not getting it in a timely manner from the administration,” Samuels said.

Judkins said that is not true.

“There was no delay from our side except for the one instance we had to validate and make sure there were not legal ramifications of which we were going to be non-compliant,” Judkins said.

She rejected all of the recommendations made by the auditor saying they are already in place.

She even went so far as to criticize the auditor’s tactics.

“The auditor picked 23 people who obviously said what he wanted them to say,” Judkins said.

As for the actual cost of the project to taxpayers, the auditor found it impossible to verify expenses.

Judkins, though, told CBS 6 she is under budget.

“Right now we’ve expended $15.9 million of the $18 million,” Judkins said.

Although, after looking over the audit, IT expert Mike Gregory,who is the president of Factory 7 LLC, said he does not foresee the project actually coming in under budget.

“Ideally, with proper planning, you’ll save money, but as we’ve seen with other programs in the past, these things tend to cost a lot more than they were originally intended to cost,” Gregory said.

The audit committee asked the auditor to revise his recommendations.

Those will be presented in January or February.

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