Lawmakers question technology promises

A legislative leader says lawmakers were duped about promises of big savings that were to be made by consolidating the state’s computer operations.

Bob Anderson, who promised to modernize New Hampshire’s computer systems and save $11 million, resigned in January, on the day lawmakers were ready to ask him for evidence of those savings.

“We intend to find out what’s happening there now, but this man wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do,” Senate President Tom Eaton told the Concord Monitor. “Some major promises were made and we were duped.”

Anderson worked for Benson at his high-tech company Cabletron Systems and had no government experience before joining his administration. Benson hired him for $150,000 a year, making him the state’s highest-paid employee.

Even Anderson’s critics credit him with improving the state’s technology system. In just over six months, he brought together 350 technology specialists from several state agencies into a single department. He revamped the state’s Web site and modernized the tech help desk for state workers, replacing the previous scattered system.

At the same time, lawmakers counting on $11 million in savings were demanding monthly updates on how Anderson was cutting spending.

“All we were trying to do was make him do what he said he would do,” said Sen. Dick Green. “But he was not giving us an indication of those savings. We were looking for a breakdown, but we couldn’t figure it out.”

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