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Have you heard of E-Court?
Most of you see how technology improves life, making things go faster and easier and things become cheaper. But not if you are the State of Oregon! E-Court has been in the works for several years and at least two Supreme Court Chief Justices have overseen this project (The Chief Justice is the equivalent of the CEO to the Department of Justice). Here is an example where the federal government did it first and got it right. Bankruptcy courts have long been an “e-court”, requiring and allowing electronic filing of cases, easy payment for such, and simple and efficient access to court documents. Did Oregon simply copy this system? Of course not! They needed to reinvent the wheel, and put out an RFP for a state-wide e-court system several years ago. (Of note, not even half the state has been converted yet, the system does NOT work as designed, and now people wanting access to court records need to check two systems that may or may not be accurate).
The short version is this: the DOJ hired Tyler for $90 million to build an e-court system. What they got was a database that doesn’t meet the RFP requirements. So, in their wisdom, they signed another contract with Tyler for “maintenance” which will cost the taxpayers an additional $1.6 million annually. Not enough money, you say? So does the DOJ. They put forth HB2561 & HB2562, both would have given the Chief Justice unlimited authority to set and raise court fees. After some negotiation, there are increases in filing fees around the state, but not what the DOJ had agreed to with Tyler, which was $5 for EVERY document to Tyler AND additional $5 to the DOJ for every document. The DOJ will be forcing everyone into their E-Court, and they still haven’t figured out how to accept payment!
Only state government can use technology to make things slower, more costly, more beaurocratic, and less user-friendly, but they do it so well!