Jim Zeigler files lawsuit over Alabama’s ‘failed’ $47 million accounting software

STAARS Gov Robert Bentley Newton
Governor Robert Bentley and Acting Finance Director Bill Newton.

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler has filed a lawsuit in efforts to void a contract for what considers “failed” accounting software.

Birmingham law firm Campbell Guin filed the lawsuit Thursday on Zeigler’s behalf in Montgomery circuit court against Gov. Robert Bentley. The suit alleges Bentley, along with Acting Finance Director Bill Newton, signed contracts for the accounting software and in doing so has cost the Yellowhammer state millions as they side-stepped the competitive bidding process, which is required by Alabama law.

According to the suit, the state entered into an agreement with CGI Technology and Solutions Inc. (CGI) in 2013 for development of the State of Alabama Accounting and Resource System (STAARS), the state’s new accounting system that handles state financial transactions.

The system, which costs the state an estimated $47 million, made its debut in 2015 chock-full of errors and software glitches, leaving the state with a backlog of unpaid bills. Zeigler said state agencies also have been unable to pay one another, which he deems “a new level of dysfunction.”

“These three agencies had tried to pay their bills, each owed to another state agency,” explained Zeigler. “They were unable to get the bills paid before the fiscal year ran out, due to failure of the new STAARS software. At that point, we saw one state agency claiming against another with the BOA. This is no way to do business.”

The lawsuit requests the court to void the contract and order CGI to pay the state back.

Zeigler continued, “We need to cancel the contract with the STAARS software vendor and get the state’s $47 million back. The previous accounting software was old, but it worked. This new software is new, but it does not work.”

Watch Zeigler’s new conference announcing the lawsuit below:


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