With only three full-time IT employees in the Office of the Treasurer, and some eligible to retire, a state audit warned that staffing should be a critical concern for an office that depends on access to both internal systems and banking systems.
The report released by the state Auditors of Public Accounts on Thursday evaluated the Office of the Treasurer through May 2022, when it was still headed by former State Treasurer Shawn Wooden.
The auditors said the small remaining staff of IT personnel won’t be able to provide “continuous and reliable support” to the rest of the Treasurer’s office – now headed by Treasurer Erick Russell, who was elected in 2022.
Office of the Treasurer spokesman Tyler Van Buren said that after recently filling two vacant positions, the office currently has three full-time IT staff, one retiree who is working temporarily, and an intern. One of the staff is eligible for early retirement, but none are eligible for full retirement, he said.
The report also found that the office is missing written procedures for some of its internal systems, which could cause problems if any of the current IT staff with a strong working knowledge of those systems leave the office.
“Without sufficient IT personnel, it would be increasingly difficult to maintain stable IT operations,” the auditors wrote. “Insufficient staffing could result in the inability to maintain a stable and secure operating environment, respond to changes in technology, and recover from unforeseen events.”
Auditors cited unfilled IT positions and “years of shifting priorities away from IT” as the reasons for the low staffing. The Treasurer’s Office agreed that staffing is low, but told auditors it needs to fill the IT manager position – left open when the previous manager retired in February – before filling other open IT positions or requesting more staff.
Van Buren said the office has selected a new IT manager, who will start on Aug. 11. He said the office hasn’t requested additional IT staff yet, but the new manager will review staff needs when they’re brought on board next month.
The Treasurer’s Office told auditors that the lack of written procedures was less of a concern. Most of its major IT systems are handled by outside vendors with “robust documentation.” The office has continued to move toward relying more on outside vendors than internal, stand-alone systems.
“Because most of our office’s major systems are provided by outside vendors, the agency does not require a large IT staff, but filling vacancies within the department was a priority and we are excited to continue to develop that team,” Van Buren said. “Once we onboard our incoming IT Manager, they will review agency needs and make recommendations as necessary for optimal ongoing systems management.”
The office told auditors that one option to address low IT staffing is to rely more on the Department of Administrative Services for IT support. They told auditors that they’ve met with the head of the DAS Bureau of Information Technology Solutions, which runs the state data centers in Groton and Springfield, Massachusetts, about moving in that direction.