Folks I’ve been following the Dale Atkins’ disaster from afar, duly noting the irate emails I’ve been receiving about the Clerk of Orleans Parish Civil District Court and the incompetent handling of her office, that experienced a computer crash last month and evidently did not maintain any useful backups. There is a story behind the story that I will not be telling today beyond highlighting some interesting connections Ms Atkins’ maintains.
Over a decade ago I had the misfortune of taking on the Single Audit of a so-called institution of higher learning the State Auditor’s office suddenly had lost interest in. The reason was the institution had suffered a catastrophic computer crash which they were still recovering from when I showed up on site to begin fieldwork.
Evaluating internal controls over the various computer systems is part and parcel of any audit and I quickly learned the director of the MIS department was evidently a bang-up band director before snagging the high level administrative position overseeing the institution’s computing systems, no doubt helped by the fact that his wife, a beautician by trade who was then the institution’s bookstore manager, reportedly was shagging a senior member of the administration.
The long and short of Sop going back to college is that I witnessed somewhere along the lines of $1MM taxpayer dollars flushed down the toilet because an incomp was too clueless so see that data backups were regularly made. The experience also cured me of doing further governmental auditing as I struggled in balancing the gross incompetence I witnessed that resulted in the loss of a large amount of much taxpayer money coupled with no accountability at the institution with the professional responsibilities I had to maintain. Given the fact that the auditor’s office had become a joke by that time under the leadership of current Mississippi Lite Gov Phil (Phildo) Bryant the decision to stop doing single audits was easy to make.
All these years later enter Dale Atkins, Clerk of the NOLA CDC and her office’s October computer crash, which has ground real estate closings to a halt in Orleans Parish and I suspect our readers now understand why I’ve been following Ms. Atkins’ little mess from afar since the beginning. I chose today to roll out this topic mainly because Bruce Eggler had another story on the topic at the Times Picayune today which helps us connect several pigs at the trough so it is there we stop next:
Despite criticism that her office should have been better prepared to prevent and then deal with such a critical loss of data, Atkins said: “My office immediately recognized the enormity and complexity of this project and began discussions with various clerk’s offices, title lawyers, abstracters and the court to seek assistance.”
She said Jefferson Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer’s offer of assistance “was immediately accepted.”
Atkins said her staff will begin working 10-hour shifts Monday to address the backlog, in addition to working on Saturdays and Sundays, and will continue to offer extended research hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“The energies of my staff and myself are completely focused on resolving this crisis,” she said.
“Completely focused” Dale? Even when your boss Larry Roedel calls? You see folks, like seemingly all area politicians, Atkins maintains a day job in a private law practice along with Tom Capella. Maybe Dale was too busy feeding at the Superdome Commission trough to realize her staff at CDC wasn’t doing its job. Maybe Dale simply hired politically connected incomps to staff her office. Whatever the story behind the story is, I bet its a good one and that doesn’t count the rumors of an ongoing federal investigation at the CDC.
Rest assured folks we have more coming on Dale Atkins’ adventures in computing.