IT Manager Blamed for MNLARS Mess Testifies

April 10, 2018 06:15 PM

Early last month Paul Meekin became the public face of the failure of the Minnesota Licensing and Registration System – known as MNLARS – when he was fired as the chief business technology officer for Minnesota IT Services (MNIT).

On Tuesday, he defended himself before a joint meeting of the Minnesota House Transportation and Finance Committees.

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RELATED: Lawmakers, MNIT Officials to Meet, Discuss Oversight Concerns

"I disagree with the premise of this investigation and the allegations against me," Meekin said about an investigative report that was requested by the Minnesota Management and Budget office. "There must be a full analysis of MNLARS so we can learn what worked and what didn't to better improve how state government delivers IT systems."

Prior to Meekin's brief testimony, the new commissioner of MNIT, Johanna Clyborne, testified that she fired Meekin based on the report by an outside firm, Everett & VanderWiel.

"That particular report ... substantiated several findings," Clyborne testified. "As a result of that report I terminated Mr. Meekin from his position on March 9, 2018. I have reviewed this report. I was very disappointed in its findings in regards to the processes, management and performance of MNIT Services."

The failure of the new $93 million MNLARS system led to thousands of Minnesotans having to wait in long lines to get license tabs and vehicle titles. Then they'd have to wait months for documents or license plates to arrive, if they arrived at all.

Meekin said putting most of the blame on him masks major IT problems throughout state government.

RELATED: Glitches Delay Launch of Another MNIT Software Project

"Investigative reports like Everett and Vanderwiel's that are conducted with an eye toward examining only one person's performance of a multi-year, multi-agency, multi-business, multi-million dollars IT project is so fundamentally misguided," Meekin told lawmakers.

Meekin is expected to testify again on Wednesday and take questions from lawmakers.



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Tom Hauser

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