Genesis breeding more bugs
The Genesis computer system’s “critical” bugs have grown from 30 to more than 250 in the past two weeks.
Jon Lemelin, of Deloitte and Touche Consulting, and Ginny Lewis, who heads Genesis for the Department of Motor Vehicles, both told lawmakers Tuesday the system is getting better, faster and will eventually do what the state was promised in trade for $35 million.
Those comments prompted subcommittee chairman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, to ask Lemelin and Lewis to consider shutting Genesis down and going back to the old system, giving programmers the rest of the year to fix those problems.
Other members of the subcommittee agreed and decided to recommend just that. But Beers pointed out it isn’t up to the Legislature. He said Gov. Kenny Guinn will announce his decision Thursday.
Guinn has scheduled press conferences promising a major announcement about Genesis, which so far is frustrating thousands who need new or renewed registration and drivers’ licenses.
Genesis was the culmination of a major re-engineering at the Department of Motor Vehicles, supposed to speed and computerize numerous parts of the drivers’s license, registration and titling processes that have always been done manually. But when it went on line Sept. 7, renewals that once took 30 minutes or less became four and five hour endurance contests for customers.
Lemelin told the subcommittee when the system went on line a month ago, there were zero critical programming bugs. Two weeks ago there were 30. Tuesday he said that number is now about 250.
But he left committee members shaking their heads when he said things were getting better.
“We’ve crossed the threshold where we’re fixing more than we’re identifying,” he said.
That prompted Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, to ask if there was a performance clause in the programming contract. Told there is an $8.1 million performance bond, he asked, “At what point will the motor vehicles department exercise that particular bond if you can’t get this up and running.”
Lewis said she has no reason to do that because she believes the system is getting better every day.
She said Wednesday a new screen designed specifically to handle simple registration renewals will go on line and should sharply reduce the backlog in that area.
And she said they are hiring a dozen more people and planning to have some of them just open and prepare the mail for those people handling mail-in renewals of all kinds.
She said they plan to start having people looking for simple renewals and other transactions that can be quickly disposed of, pulling those people out of line and taking care of them to speed things up.
But after they admitted the mail-in backlog was nearly 60,000 envelopes, suggested “at least temporarily falling back on Legacy (the old computer system).”
“Just as a temporary solution to get these citizens back to some semblance of normal,” he said. “I suggest we take Genesis off line until you fix it and put Legacy back on until the end of the year. That gives you time to resolve the staggering problems with the system and then you can reconvert on Thanksgiving.”
Lewis said she doesn’t think that’s the answer, that the DMV should just keep working on Genesis, fixing the problems and gradually bringing it up to speed.
That decision will be up to Guinn, who plans to make his announcement on Thursday.