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Paid for Failure?

Thursday, June 14, 2007 by Slaughter Development

In dire need of a new payroll system, the Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) engaged Deloitte Consulting to the tune of $55 million. Yet the problems and overruns during implementation have caused an uproar in the ranks of teachers and employees, who demand remedy. LAUSD has agreed to another $9.6 million to fix the issues, spending that money (once again) to pay Deloitte.

An editorial from the Los Angeles Times, quoted on the teacher’s union website, explains the problem:

The system was supposed to bring efficiency and flexibility to district payroll systems. Instead, it has created the dispiriting spectacle of teachers and other district employees slogging downtown to register complaints and make sense of their paychecks. Back in April, the waits for help averaged nearly five hours; about the only good news the district has to offer lately is that the wait times have fallen to just over two hours. Still, problems persist. Not surprisingly, as employees have missed mortgage and rent payments, concern has mushroomed into outrage. The breakdown has, one board member told The Times, “contributed to the worst demoralization and cynicism I’ve ever seen in this district.”

The details of this story are incredibly complex, and attempting to place blame with either the school district or with Deloitte would be irresponsible and unhelpful. However, this is a case of dramatic, expensive change executed by consultants which did not occur as planned. Many stakeholders are clearly upset at the latest turn of events. The decision to pay Deloitte to help resolve the problems continues and reinforces the relationship between the two parties. Although there is no agreement on who is at fault, this choice fuels discontent because whichever group you blame is still involved.

Slaughter Development believes in an alternate model for building partnerships. Read more about our pricing philosophy before engaging a traditional consultant for organizational change.

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Unsolved Due to Workflow Error - The British government maintains an ambitious registry of over four million DNA samples used in crime fighting. However, some major data entry problems have left nearly 200 crimes undetected. Read on »
Failure: The Secret to Success - Making a decision at work sometimes feels like sliding a quarter down a slot machine. Every chance taken is a gamble between success and failure. But without placing bets or playing cards, can we find success and make our dreams reality? Read on »
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