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Elaine Howle

A collection of news and information related to Elaine Howle published by this site and its partners.

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  • Wandering Eye: Government's big data problem, how cops handle mental illness, and more

    Wandering Eye: Government's big data problem, how cops handle mental illness, and more
    Governing Magazine did an overdue survey of local and state governments' use of data, focusing on the quality of that data. They found it bad. As "big data" takes over the world, the problem of bad data—"dirty" data with keystroke errors, missing fields, and "cooked" data because the jobs of the people taking the data depend on the data looking a certain way—has been the major underreported story. So Governing polled auditors and data managers in 46 states. Seventy percent of them "said bad data is a problem 'frequently' or 'often.'" The data entry errors tend to cost money (rather than saving money or—if errors were random—being neutral), the survey found. "[In] just one California audit of sick leave, released last year, data entry errors were found to have cost the state $6 million." ("We found circumstances where instead of eight hours, it was 80 and in one case, 800," says Elaine Howle, the California state auditor. "And the system didn't have controls to say that's impossible.") Agencies that were required to report to the feds tended to have the cleanest data. "Officials singled out human services agencies, economic development, and public safety and corrections as the parts of state government with the biggest data quality problems." The full report is linked at the magazine's website. (Edward Ericson Jr.)
  • Audit blasts state agency over failed IT projects

    The state’s dismal record on creating new computer systems, many of which come in over budget and past deadlines, is partly the fault of poor oversight by the California Department of Technology (CalTech), a state audit concluded Thursday. The...

    Run DWP more like a business and less like a bureaucracy

    Run DWP more like a business and less like a bureaucracy
    A state audit released last week details how Los Angeles Department of Water and Power managers ignored and downplayed repeated warnings that a new customer billing system — the lifeline of the utility and how it collects its revenue — was not...

    Audit finds major cost increases, delays in state computer project

    Audit finds major cost increases, delays in state computer project
    Poor planning and oversight of a computer system by the state Department of Consumer Affairs led to significant delays and cost increases, according to a state audit released Thursday. The agency’s BreEZe information technology system, aimed at...

    Whistle-blower cases cost California $89,000, state auditor reports

    A California agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints announced this week that government agencies and employees cost the state more than $89,000 by embezzling money and committing other misdeeds over the course of roughly two years. A new...