Aumentum Aumentum Aumentum – All about Aumentum


All about Aumentum. Or was it?

If you watch today’s (6/20/2017) Board of Supervisors meeting on YouTube, you will either close the video or be left scratching your head if you watch it until the end. What were the Supervisors and Auditor talking about?

Early on, I disclosed that someone in my office made an error, we found it, and we were correcting it. We are not perfect and I was being transparent about the error with the Board, but then, one or more of them knew about the error as did the County Treasurer sitting in the audience, so I guess they just wanted to see if I was going to disclose it. I had no intentions of doing otherwise.

Then we got into how my office could avoid the error in the future and I told the Board we now had an independent report from IT (Information Technology) that we would use next year to compare with the report generated by Aumentum. If we pulled the wrong report or the report generated by Aumentum was inaccurate, we would catch the error prior to filing for the State credits. Case closed.

Then we discussed a whole lot of other stuff related to Aumentum, e.g., the Board’s involvement in Aumentum, project management, accountability, and who owned Aumentum – you are just going to have to watch the video to get a full appreciation of the back and forth – which I was pleased with because the Board actually discussed Aumentum for about an hour.

I mentioned to the Board the two sides of quality: You can build quality into a product or you can inspect quality into a product. Based upon the issues we have had with Aumentum, I believe we are trying to “inspect” in the quality. Two of the attachments, i.e., the open case log and the Linn County priorities would seem to support my belief. In addition, the County has a number of personnel doing work-arounds using spreadsheets when, in my opinion, the product – Aumentum – should be doing the work. What do you do when the personnel doing the work-arounds leave the County?

The third attachment is a letter written to Thomson Reuters (TR) in September 2016 by Supervisor John Harris expressing his/our dissatisfaction with Aumentum. That letter originated after many months of frustration and disgust with TR and their product. You will not likely find many letters like that one in the County’s official records.

While Aumentum has improved since going operational in 2014, I cannot recommend it to another government entity in Iowa. Why? My office has prepared four annual valuation reports using Aumentum and all four reports were produced after the statutory deadline passed. My office has prepared three annual tax lists and is working on this year’s tax list now. We have missed my deadline to provide the tax list to the County Treasurer for the last three years.

I hope the Board follows through on my recommendation to hold a public Board meeting to review the cases and priorities related to Aumentum … and potential solutions, e.g., let’s hire a project manager on our side to hold ourselves accountable, the vendor accountable, and publicly report on the progress of Aumentum. The public is aware of our failures … and our excuses. Are we worried that the public will not understand? Maybe they won’t understand, but I can tell you that they are tired of our excuses. And on August 1st of this year, I would like to be thinking about the outcome of the Supervisor Representation Plan election and NOT how I am going to spin some explanation for missing another deadline. – Joel D. Miller – Linn County Auditor

IA-Linn_Support Review Meeting 6-8-2017 Thomson Reuters open case log.xlsx

Aumentum – Linn County priorities 6-21-2017.docx

Thomson Reuters letter – September 2016.docx

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