The following is a statement delivered on behalf of the LIBA Board of Directors to the County Board of Commissioners at the Board meeting this morning.
During the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners’ weekly Staff Meeting a few weeks ago, there was intense discussion among board members and staff regarding the prospect of renewing a contract for the TRIM records management service. Since that somewhat heated exchange, Lincoln Independent Business Association staff members have had an opportunity to discuss the issues with some members of the Board, with County staff, and with County employees. The LIBA Board of Directors would like to express concerns related to what we have learned in discussing the TRIM contract, and our concerns about the management of the TRIM contract.
At the heart of our concerns is the simple fact that the County has been paying maintenance fees for 450 licenses per year for the last 15 years. Although the County has continued to pay these fees for these licenses, the County has only used between 60 and 100 of those licenses on a regular basis at any point during that 15-year time period. Based on conversations we have had with various County officials, it appears that unnecessarily paying for management contracts on approximately 350 licenses for this software has cost Lancaster County taxpayers at least $11,000 per year, or about $165,000.
Although LIBA takes no position on this Board’s pending decision about whether to continue using the TRIM system or any other records management system, we are compelled to respond to such a clear waste of taxpayer dollars. While we understand that there are a number of factors that led to the initial purchase of the 450 licenses, including the expectation that the City or other joint departments might use the software, the fact that the maintenance expenses have continued for 15 years without such involvement from other entities is problematic. We have been assured by County Staff that this waste will not continue beyond this next contract year as negotiations with the software company have uncovered the fact that we do not need to pay to maintain licenses we do not use. Unfortunately, this change comes all too late.
Considering the loss of public funds that has occurred as a result of the management of the TRIM contract, LIBA urges this Board to investigate its other ongoing contracts to ensure that tax dollars are being properly managed in other areas. The fact that the County has made annual payments for the maintenance of licenses it has not ever used over a 15-year period raises serious questions about oversight of this and other contracts. County taxpayers deserve an explanation for how something like this could happen, and deserve assurances that similar issues are not occurring in other areas. In our view, concerns such as this warrant a performance audit of other ongoing contracts the County maintains. We ask this Board to pursue such an investigation swiftly and openly.