Technology no help if not used

State government seems endlessly inventive in finding ways to waste huge sums of money on pie-in-the-sky technological ventures. Unfortunately, we West Virginians keep letting the folks in Charleston get away with it.

About three years ago, state officials were talked into spending $150 million on a new computerized accounting system called OASIS. As you might imagine, we have wasted millions of dollars in addition to the initial price tag through mistakes in installing and operating it.

But that isn’t the biggest cause for anger. OASIS was intended to standardize and centralize many state government accounting functions, including payroll.

When still-new state Auditor J.B. McCuskey looked into OASIS, he found that — sit down for this — there still are 156 different methods of handling payroll in use by state agencies. There has been little centralization and standardization.

“We bought a $150 million computer platform that has the ability to actually have a centralized payroll, and what we have is a completely decentralized payroll that’s using a $150 million computer,” McCuskey told a reporter.

Such fiascos are common in government. We have referred to them as “unacceptable.”

But that’s the problem: No one ever seems to do anything about outrages such as OASIS. In Charleston, they are acceptable.