Iowa Senate approves $ 21 million for Workday computer system

The Iowa Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to spend $ 21 million from the general fund on a new computer system

Governor Kim Reynolds attempted in July to use coronavirus relief money for the Workday system, but the US Treasury Department and state auditor told him it was not allowed because the system was not necessitated by COVID-19 and was in the works before. the pandemic.

Senate File 284 passed 32 to 17 with all Republicans supporting it and all Democrats present opposing it. The measure would still need to be passed in the House to become law.

Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, said Iowa needs to replace its outdated human resources and finance computer system. He defended the state’s selection of Workday, a California-based company, and said the smaller-scale Workday implementations at Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Transportation have gone well.

“Pam Cain is responsible for implementing this at Iowa State University,” Kraayenbrink said. Cain told him ‘Workday is not a bad program.’

The Gazette reported in February 2020 that Iowa signed a $ 50 million contract with Workday after bypassing traditional tendering procedures to choose a company with little experience in state government. whose lobbyist, Jake Ketzner, is Reynolds’ former chief of staff.

Planned deployments of Workday systems at the ISU and DOT have been delayed, The Gazette reported.

Senator Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, introduced an amendment on Tuesday that, instead of spending $ 21 million on the software system, would spend the same amount on food banks and food programs, which have struggled to sustain more hungry Iowans during the pandemic.

“The state currently has more urgent needs than buying accounting software from a foreign company represented by our radical governor’s former chief of staff,” Bolkcom said. “You can’t eat software. “

The amendment failed.

Iowa Work Day Timeline

September 26, 2016 – Iowa State University signs a $ 17.6 million contract with Workday, a California-based software company. It is later advertised in the Iowa State Daily newspaper.

September 21, 2017 – The Iowa Department of Transportation signs a $ 9.4 million contract with Workday, based on financial terms set out in the ISU contract.

June 8, 2018 – Jake Ketzner is stepping down as Chief of Staff to Governor Kim Reynolds to “seek opportunities outside of state government.”

October 1, 2018 – First date Ketzner is listed as a lobbyist for Workday.

October 30, 2019 – The Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer signs a five-year, $ 21 million contract with Workday to provide human resources and financial cloud computing services.

February 11, 2020 – Iowa OCIO signs a $ 28 million Workday contract to implement human resources systems by summer 2021 and financial systems by summer 2022.

July 2020 – Governor Kim Reynolds transfers $ 21 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, to Workday’s implementation.

October 16, 2020 – The US Treasury Department and State Auditor Rob Sand have said the transfer of the Reynolds CARES Act is not allowed.

December 14, 2020 – Reynolds announces that she will return the CARES Act money spent on Workday.

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak at a press conference Tuesday, September 29, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)


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Gordon K. Morehouse