Governor Kim Reynolds approved a $21 million contract with a company called “Workday” in 2019.
Then, in 2020, Reynolds attempted to use $21 million of federal funding for the computer system, but the U.S. Treasury ruled it was not an admissible use of pandemic relief money. House Democrat Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City said the original contract also sidestepped state competitive bidding rules.
“To be perfectly frank, this is fishy,” Prichard said. “…I think there are too many unanswered questions as to why this process was handled the way it was and we deserve answers before we are asked to approve something that has too many unknowns.”
Representative John Wills, a Republican from Spirit Lake, said the current system is antiquated and must be replaced.
“It uses code language called COBOL that was developed in 1959…costs $10 million a year to operate and has many problems,” Wills said. “…It has become increasingly evident that if we do not do something soon, our entire state payment system could stop at some point.”
The state has already paid to use the cloud-based computing system offered by Workday at Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Transportation.