Dallas County Spent Millions on Software That Does Not Work, Jenkins Says

Steps taken Tuesday to remedy software failures

Dallas County Commissioners took steps Tuesday to remedy the $36 million spent on court and jail software that does not work.

"It is a frustrating mess," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.

The money went to Tech Share, an entity created to provide software solutions to large Texas counties.

So far, Tech Share software is working in Dallas County Juvenile Courts and two other applications.

"They're working. The users are satisfied, very satisfied, with what has been produced. So I would say no, don't throw out things that are working," County Commissioner Theresa Daniel said.

Tech Share received around $30 million for adult court software and another $6.5 million for jail software that does not operate properly.

Jenkins has been a Tech Share critic for years.

"All of our judges came and told us it wouldn't work and they didn't want it," he said. "We can't just keep putting good money after bad, so we're going to have to look at solutions."

This year, new County Commissioner J.J. Koch also questioned relying on Tech Share and swung the issue to Jenkins side.

"When you're talking about people's rights, you want to see what has worked in the marketplace, look at best practices," Koch said.

Two weeks ago, commissioners decided to issue a new request for proposals to force Tech Share to compete with other providers to keep the court software deal.

"I have a real hard time trusting them and their expertise, but I am more than willing to allow third parties to evaluate them," Koch said.

Tuesday, commissioners hired a third party expert to evaluate the proposals.

They also withheld more than $1 million in operating and maintenance money that was to be paid to Tech Share for applications that are working.

Daniel, who leads a Dallas County Technology Committee, said the jail software is very close to operating and Tech Share deserves continued support.

"They were the one that won the RFP in the beginning. They were the low and best bid on that. And, I think we should stick by what they have produced because it works," Daniel said.

For now, old outdated software is still in use in Dallas County's adult courts and jail.

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