Portland City Government Mismanagement Strikes Again

The Oregonian reported this morning that the City of Portland’s failed effort to purchase a payroll computing system will now result in a total cost of just under $50,000,000!

Because no one in city government was competent enough to figure out how to accomplish this, they hired a consultant who did not know how to do the job either. Now they are late and way over-budget. What a surprise.

All this wasted time, effort, and money could have been avoided with just one phone call to the Portland office of Automatic Data Processing, one of the largest providers of business outsourcing services in payroll and human resources in the nation.

According to a recent study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers for ADP the average costs for payroll and human resources for companies with 6,500 employees (close to the number of Portland City workers) is $280 per year. ADP says they can beat that number by 30% for a total annual cost of just under $200 per employee.

This means that the City of Portland could hire ADP to perform all payroll and HR functions for all city employees for the next 31 years before they would exceed the $50,000,000 they are going to spend for a system that may actually never work and that is already behind schedule and over-budget. If the city took the 50 million and invested it very conservatively (say just 3%), sufficient funds would be generated to cover all HR and payroll costs forever!

This is not the last in a long, long list of gross incompetence in city government. Does anyone recall the water billing fiasco? It would be nice if, just once, a city employee who knew he or she was out of their league had the courage to admit it and seek help before throwing 50 million of our dollars down the big pipe.

The employees who hired the consultant who knew nothing should be fired. Whoever is left in charge should call ADP. It truly is as simple as that.