State Rep. Kitty Rhoades, R-Hudson, has been named to the state panel charged with investigating the state's recent information technology failures and identifying solutions to prevent similar mistakes in the future.

Ultimately, the Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology will present a set of solutions that include a great deal of public input to improve efficiency and accountability for the state's IT projects, prior to implementation.

Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan recently appointed the 10-member joint Assembly-Senate panel which will be led by Rep. Gary Sherman, D-Port Wing, along with Sen. Pat Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls.

"I served on the Speaker's Task Force on Information Technology Failures during the 2007-08 legislative session," said Rhoades. "I'm proud to have been renamed to the reconstituted panel this session. We need greater accountability of the use of our limited financial resources."

A 2007 audit reported that failed IT projects have already cost taxpayers more than $170 million, including the University of Wisconsin's Appointment, Payroll, and Benefits System. The system would have been implemented in January 2005 at a cost of $19.7 million; instead, the project was canceled in July 2006 after at least $28.4 million had been spent.

"In an increasingly technological world, generating recommendations to improve efficiency and accountability for the state's IT projects will be more and more important," said Rhoades.

In the past, the panel has focused on four specific areas of the IT project process: assessing the need for a new IT system; selecting a vendor and writing a contract; implementing the selected system -- whether it is off-the shelf, standardized software or a program built and customized specifically for the state -- and legislative and departmental oversight of projects funded by the state.

"I look forward to classifying patterns of previous failures which will allow us to develop ways to prevent future mistakes," Rhoades said. "In the end, I anticipate our work will result in a number of measures that will protect taxpayers and keep our state moving forward in IT efficiency and accountability."