Some questions had been submitted in advance, and E. Mitchell Roob handed each member a 1,700-page response to drive home one reason he gave for the necessity of the $1.16 billion modernization project.
FSSA staff members paraded seven crates of reports into the packed Statehouse hearing room, then distributed the reports. Each formed a stack more than 6 inches tall.
"This is illustrative of the way we do eligibility today because it is a paper-based system," Roob said. "We have asked our employees to use technology that is pre-Internet era."
So on the one hand, Roob and Daniels lament that the current system is broken because the state workers who run it are inefficient, error-prone and susceptible to fraud. And on the other hand, they provide definitive proof to lawmakers that the "paper-based" and "pre-Internet era" system which state workers are forced to use is to blame for the agency's woes. I've never heard a good explanation why the administration only favored modernization if the work was to be performed by private contractors. So in the future when the administration compares the performance of the private operators under the new privatization agreement with the results under the old, state-run program, the private operators are going to have an unfair advantage. Maybe that's why the agency refused to perform a cost-benefit analysis of the proposal in advance. If it had bothered to do that, it would not have demonstrated the $300 million savings Daniels and Robb are promising under a privately-run versus state-run system.