PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - An executive from Hewlett Packard will be in Rhode Island next week to address problems with a still offline computer system at the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to Governor Lincoln Chafee.
Chafee said he spoke personally with HP CEO Meg Whitman who told the governor she "wants to be on top of this."
"She's sending a senior vice president next week to put a full court press on this problem," Chafee said during a taping of WPRI 12's Newsmakers. "I have to say, this has been a nightmare."
Sarah Pompei, a spokesperson for HP, said a senior vice president from their "Enterprise Services US Public Sector" would meet with state officials "in the near future." She did not confirm it would be next week.
"HP will continue working with the Governor and Rhode Island officials to solve the challenges from a situation we both inherited," Pompei wrote in a statement. "We look forward to delivering a solution the people of Rhode Island deserve."
She said HP acquired the original vendor after the computer contract was already awarded.
In 2006 the state began looking to replace the DMV's computer system, which has been online since 1983. Rhode Island contracted with HP two years later with 2010 as a target date to get the new system online.
The initial cost was $8.8 million but that has risen to $15.5 million. Tthe DMV also charges a technology surcharge of $1.50 on all transactions to pay for the still offline computers.
Chafee said they are hoping to get the system online in May, but they keep getting "setbacks."
"Before they turn the switch and give us the go ahead to having it work, [the vendor] should be testing it," Chafee said. "It's been very frustrating."
When asked if taxpayers can get their money back Chafee replied "we've got so much money in now that we're going to try to continue to make this work."
Copyright WPRI 12
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