IID votes 4-1 for new staff to work on SAP computer system

April 25, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The debate over the Imperial Irrigation District's embattled SAP computer system took another turn Tuesday as the IID board voted to create six staff positions to work on the system.

The board voted 4-1 on a motion by Director Bruce Kuhn to fill those positions, doing so two weeks after the board decided it would not fill those positions until IID took steps to remove a portion of the water department operations from SAP.

Director Rudy Maldonado cast the lone vote against adding the positions, pointing out the board was reversing an action during its last meeting.

At one point in the discussion Maldonado asked IID attorney Orlando "Lanny" Foote about the meaning of "collusion." Foote defined collusion as a move by two or more to plan an illegal action.


While Maldonado did not state during the meeting why he asked the question, he did say this morning his goal was to get the attention of his fellow directors.

He said while the board's so-called reversal of its earlier action was not illegal, the vote raises legitimacy questions as to its earlier actions regarding SAP.

While typically the hiring of employees is not a controversial issue, the battle over the cost of SAP and how those costs are shared by the water and power departments has led to debate over creating SAP-related jobs.

Of the six employees hired to work with SAP, two will work in human resources, one in finance, two in power and one in water.

Maldonado said it is the water position with which he is most concerned.

He said two weeks ago the board voted 3-2 against creating any SAP positions related to water and Tuesday it went against that action.

Those voting not to create the SAP-related positions two weeks ago were Kuhn, Maldonado and Director Lloyd Allen.

Kuhn said he understands why Maldonado would look at the board's action Tuesday as a reversal, but he said that is not the case.

Kuhn said two weeks ago he voted against creating the six positions until the district knew what it was going to do to remove a portion of the water department from SAP.

He said the district now is working to remove water order entry from SAP.

Kuhn said for that reason he does not have a problem creating the six SAP-related jobs, including one for the water department.

Kuhn added those six employees will handle the business aspect of the district, not operations. He said he does see a need to add the positions to make sure SAP meets the business needs of the district.

Kuhn said he is not against the SAP system. He said the system works and he understands the need to hire more people to run the system.

He said his concern has been IID brought in SAP to meet the needs of the power department and thus the water department should not have to pay more than 10 percent for the system.

Kuhn was angered at an action by the board to have the water side pay 24 percent of the district's information technology costs, adding that goes against the original intent of the board when it purchased SAP

After Tuesday's meeting, Kuhn said by removing water order entry from SAP, the cost water users will pay for SAP will decrease.

Mike King, water department manager, said water users likely will see a decreased SAP cost but that savings might be offset by bringing a new system for water order entry.

He said the issue is being studied to determine what savings there would be and what the cost for a new system for water order entry would be.

Gabe Marcial, manager of the district's information technology department, said the board's action Tuesday was important to assure SAP meets the business needs of the district.

He said it is important to remember the six new employees will not work in his department.

He said they will work in other departments to make sure SAP meets the business needs of each of those areas.

He said those positions should have been added long ago to ensure SAP provides the service it was meant to provide.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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