Governor Asks for Review of Troubled Welfare Computer

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Colorado officials are looking into whether the company that sold the state a $200 million welfare computer system should pay some of the costs stemming from widespread problems with the system.

The Colorado Benefits Management System is blamed for causing a backlog of nearly 30,000 cases last fall and early this year, leading to a lawsuit by advocates of the poor.

State agencies that work with the computer have requested an extra $8.3 million to cover everything from extra printing and postage, to extra employees to input data into the system.

Governor Owens says he has hired a consulting firm to assess the system, but he says it's too early to say whether the vendor -- Electronci Data Systems -- should bear some penalties and costs to fix the system.

Of the request for extra money, $3.5 million dollars is to cover extra employees to input data into the system as well as other workers, like trainers, needed to support the system. The agencies also want $481,142 to cover legal costs incurred because of a lawsuit filed against the state by advocates for the poor.

The Attorney General's office told lawmakers they are reviewing the state's contract with E.D.S.