CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cuyahoga County Executive Administration Armond Budish and Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court blame IT problems for an unknown number of vendors having to wait up to six months to be paid.
Some of these bills and others the county has received since February 14 have still not been paid due to similar issues. County finance officer Michael Chambers told cleveland.com he expects these vendors to receive checks by the middle of next week.
County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said the Budish administration had recruited additional staff to process more than 1,000 bills accumulated since February 3, when the county’s new computer system for processing payments was put online.
“What we’re going through right now are growing pains coupled with what we’re confident this will be a more efficient and responsible system for everyone,” Madigan said.
The juvenile court also pays employees overtime to deal with the backlog, juvenile court spokeswoman Mary Davidson said.
Some complaints about late payments come from ad litem guardians, people appointed by the juvenile court to represent the best interests of children in the justice system. Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association president Ian Friedman said he has also received complaints from attorneys appointed by the juvenile court to handle cases.
“It appears to be a simple case of professionals rendering services on behalf of indigent minors and not being compensated,” Friedman said in a statement posted to cleveland.com “It makes no reasonable sense. Hopefully the county recognizes the value of these lawyers dedicated to helping children, often without any financial resources It is not an issue that should be argued The payments just need to be made now.
County officials say some of the delays are due to the juvenile court failing to submit invoices for payment on time. “We can’t pay the bills until we get them,” Madigan said.
The juvenile court attributed the “inevitable delays” to several factors: the closing of accounts at the end of the year, the county’s implementation of its new tax computer system and a temporary loss of data in the court’s computer system. for minors.
The county tax system is part of what’s known as the Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP system that the county has been trying to install for years. The often delayed project is also over budget by several million dollars. Chambers said employees took some time to acclimatize to the system.
Consultant Jack Rhyne, who oversees the ERP project, and Chambers said county agencies were notified months in advance of the Feb. 3 transition to the new tax system and the associated timelines for submitting payments.
In the case of ad litem guardians and court-appointed attorneys, Chambers and Rhyne said it is the juvenile court’s responsibility to notify vendors of late payments.