UH SYSTEM GETS BURNED IN PAYROLL RIGMAROLE

 

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

After spending more than two years and almost $2 million in an effort to install a payroll system designed by the University of Texas, the UH System will go to court Feb. 13 as the defendant in a $970,000 lawsuit.

The plaintiff, C.W. Systems, a software firm hired in 1991 to install the UT payroll system, filed the lawsuit March 15,1993. UH eventually was forced to scrap the UT system once it was installed and start anew.

In the final analysis, the efforts by the UH System to install a payroll package lasted four years and expended more than $3 million, according to UH System documents and officials.

After aborting the UT payroll project, the UH System finally found success with the SCT system. SCT is the payroll system currently in place on the UH System campuses.

The UT payroll system project was the second of three attempts to install a payroll system. It was finally scrapped after UH System officials realized they were fighting a losing battle to make it suitable to the universities' needs.

"The lawsuit is the one thing the UH System is embarrassed about," said a senior-level administrator who wished to remain anonymous. "If the System loses that lawsuit, that would heap insult onto indignity. When the System dropped the project, it was an absolute loss. We'd have done better to have gone out and have had a bonfire with that money."

Back in 1991, when the UT payroll system, a custom-designed product, was given to the UH System for free, it looked like a good deal, said Steve Green, associate vice chancellor for System Information Services.

According to technical experts, all that needed to be accomplished was the conversion of the UT package from the IBM to the DEC VAX versions. The DEC VAX and IBM units are two different systems used for running software programs. The System planned to implement the package Systemwide.

In the lawsuit, C.W. Systems alleges that changes were made with respect to the contract, and that those changes were not paid for by the UH System, said Sal Levantino, general counsel for C.W. Systems.

Susan Pryor, a consultant retained by the UH System, contends that C.W. Systems mismanaged the project and helped bring about its eventual failure. Originally named in the lawsuit, all charges were eventually dropped against Pryor.

Lee Liggett, UH System general counsel, also alleges that the payroll package the System contracted and paid for was never delivered.

In the course of the now-defunct project, the UH System paid C.W. Systems more than $1 million and expended countless man-hours for UH System Controller Linda Bright and her staff to work on the project. In addition, the expense of paying a consultant, Pryor, was wasted.

The same senior administration official placed the cost of the C.W. Systems project at close to $2 million.

The current payroll system, SCT, cost the UH System an additional $1 million. Before choosing the UT package, the UH System had contracted with Coopers and Lybrand to suggest a payroll system that would fit the UH System's needs.

The report, with a price tag of $70,000, gave the UT system the lowest rating. Coopers and Lybrand suggested the UH System choose a package made by Information Associates (which was later acquired by SCT) and was the eventual package implemented by the System.

Liggett, in describing how both sides would defend the case, said, "If I were the other side, I would try to show that I was given an impossible task and that the university knew about it from the very beginning (that the UT system would be difficult to convert.) The System's contention is that C.W. Systems ought to have known the capabilities of the software they attempted to install. They came in and said it could be done."

C.W. Systems conducted a feasibility study before the initial work began on the project. The cost of that study, according to records, was $13,100. Green, associate vice chancellor for Information Services, in defending UH's position, said the study was done to address four issues: if it could be converted; if it can be done economically; if it can be done before the end of 1991; and if it is a suitable product.

C.W. Systems concluded that it could meet the above requirements and that the conversion could be completed, Green said.

Levantino disagreed with Green's account of the purpose for the feasibility study. "The feasibility study was used to determine if the UT payroll system package produced the product that UH needed. C.W. Systems did not have license to go into the UH administration to make an analysis of how the system operates. It was not a thorough analysis," he said, adding, "C.W. Systems was hired to transport and install it (the UT payroll system). UH accepted it. Now whether UH (System) wants to use it, that is not an issue in this case."

Liggett, in his capacity as UH general counsel, admitted that the UH System had attempted to make a settlement, but that C.W. Systems had refused it. He refused to discuss the amount of the settlement offer.

"This one is kind of frustrating. It looks like a case that should be easy to settle. We have attempted to mediate the issue. Both parties do have weaknesses in their cases," Liggett said.

Liggett would not comment on those weaknesses. "The jury is often the last place you want to settle the issue," he said. With a jury, one does not have as much control as in a negotiating situation, he said.

Pat Feeney of the Texas Attorney General's Office, who is litigating the UH System's case, would not comment on the case, citing attorney-client privilege.

Ed Whalen, vice chancellor for administration and finance, also refused to directly comment on the upcoming litigation.

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FIVE CHARGED WITH INDECENCY IN LIBRARY

by Nita Gonzales

Daily Cougar Staff

Four people have been arrested and charged with indecent exposure, and one person has been arrested and charged with public lewdness, all in M.D. Anderson Library, in the past month.

Campus visitor Walter Scott McEver, 27, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure at 3:10 p.m. Jan. 10 by UHPD Officer Jeffrey Heyse.

Student Aik Hing Tong, 28, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure by UHPD Officer Kevin Marmor at 5:04 p.m. Jan. 12 in one of the library bathrooms.

Campus visitor Victor Walsman Garry, 40, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure at 5:51 p.m. Jan. 13, also by Marmor.

Twenty-three-year-old visitor Gary Allen Jarvis was arrested and charged with public lewdness in another library arrest made Jan. 18. Heyse made the arrest in a library bathroom at 12:37 p.m. Visitor James Russell Bienvenue, 30, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure by Marmor at 5:44 p.m. Friday, also in one of the library bathrooms.

All of the people arrested were transported to the Harris County Jail with bail set at $500.

Increased arrests are the direct result of increased policing of the library by plain-clothes UH police officers in an effort to reduce thefts of unattended items and other crimes, said UHPD Lt. Malcolm Davis.

"We are doing this periodically to cover all angles," he added.

Not knowing about the heightened police presence, frequent library patrons like student Carol Hoang are still wary when studying at the library.

"It's scary at night if you're alone at night or on the fourth floor," Hoang said. "This place is scary at night, especially during winter because it's dark early."

Hoang said she no longer stays at the library late at night because the floors are empty. "The people who reshelve the books don't work late, and the stairs are scary when the elevators are not working," Hoang said.

Callistus Nnabuife, senior library assistant and former library manager, remembers that a similar increased policing effort a few years ago decreased thefts and other crimes at the library.

"Extra police made people think twice about doing any crime," he said.

There are about 100 incidents of indecent exposure annually, he said, adding that more policing helps to "cut down crime, especially of stolen materials and equipment.

"Right now, the library is quiet, but during finals, people are under more stress, and there are more crimes," Nnabuife added.

Davis said the recent extra policing is working well, and he attributed this month's increased arrests to luck and "being at the right place at the right time."

The police are concentrating on problem campus areas like the library to make people more comfortable to do what they have to do, like studying.

* * *

In other police news, an ongoing UH police investigation into a robbery of the Burger King on Cullen has yielded no new leads or suspects.

At around 11 p.m. on Jan. 1, after the closing of the restaurant, two men in ski masks walked up to an employee in the parking lot and demanded money.

Armed with a small-caliber pistol, the men then asked for the keys to the restaurant.

Once inside, the employees opened the restaurant safe. The two men then put two employees into the walk-in freezer.

The suspects fled the restaurant with $290.

After a few minutes, the employees let themselves out and phoned UHPD.

Fingerprints were taken at the scene, but no new leads have surfaced, Davis said.

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FIVE CHARGED WITH INDECENCY IN LIBRARY

by Nita Gonzales

Daily Cougar Staff

Four people have been arrested and charged with indecent exposure, and one person has been arrested and charged with public lewdness, all in M.D. Anderson Library, in the past month.

Campus visitor Walter Scott McEver, 27, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure at 3:10 p.m. Jan. 10 by UHPD Officer Jeffrey Heyse.

Student Aik Hing Tong, 28, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure by UHPD Officer Kevin Marmor at 5:04 p.m. Jan. 12 in one of the library bathrooms.

Campus visitor Victor Walsman Garry, 40, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure at 5:51 p.m. Jan. 13, also by Marmor.

Twenty-three-year-old visitor Gary Allen Jarvis was arrested and charged with public lewdness in another library arrest made Jan. 18. Heyse made the arrest in a library bathroom at 12:37 p.m. Visitor James Russell Bienvenue, 30, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure by Marmor at 5:44 p.m. Friday, also in one of the library bathrooms.

All of the people arrested were transported to the Harris County Jail with bail set at $500.

Increased arrests are the direct result of increased policing of the library by plain-clothes UH police officers in an effort to reduce thefts of unattended items and other crimes, said UHPD Lt. Malcolm Davis.

"We are doing this periodically to cover all angles," he added.

Not knowing about the heightened police presence, frequent library patrons like student Carol Hoang are still wary when studying at the library.

"It's scary at night if you're alone at night or on the fourth floor," Hoang said. "This place is scary at night, especially during winter because it's dark early."

Hoang said she no longer stays at the library late at night because the floors are empty. "The people who reshelve the books don't work late, and the stairs are scary when the elevators are not working," Hoang said.

Callistus Nnabuife, senior library assistant and former library manager, remembers that a similar increased policing effort a few years ago decreased thefts and other crimes at the library.

"Extra police made people think twice about doing any crime," he said.

There are about 100 incidents of indecent exposure annually, he said, adding that more policing helps to "cut down crime, especially of stolen materials and equipment.

"Right now, the library is quiet, but during finals, people are under more stress, and there are more crimes," Nnabuife added.

Davis said the recent extra policing is working well, and he attributed this month's increased arrests to luck and "being at the right place at the right time."

The police are concentrating on problem campus areas like the library to make people more comfortable to do what they have to do, like studying.

* * *

In other police news, an ongoing UH police investigation into a robbery of the Burger King on Cullen has yielded no new leads or suspects.

At around 11 p.m. on Jan. 1, after the closing of the restaurant, two men in ski masks walked up to an employee in the parking lot and demanded money.

Armed with a small-caliber pistol, the men then asked for the keys to the restaurant.

Once inside, the employees opened the restaurant safe. The two men then put two employees into the walk-in freezer.

The suspects fled the restaurant with $290.

After a few minutes, the employees let themselves out and phoned UHPD.

Fingerprints were taken at the scene, but no new leads have surfaced, Davis said.

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CONSOLING VICTIMS OF LIFE'S TRAUMAS A DELICATE PROCESS

by Nita Gonzales

Daily Cougar Staff

When asked about his kidnapping, sophomore Joseph Ruffatto said he is not traumatized and that his life has changed in "little ways." His friend, senior Jerry Imbergia, does not believe that.

"We all try asking him what happened, but he doesn't want to talk about it," Imbergia said. "So we don't ask anymore."

With Ruffatto back in classes and in the dorms, Imbergia worries that nosey people will

"push him over the edge" by asking him too many questions.

"I don't want to see him snap," he said.

Not asking questions about a traumatic event is fine, said Raymond Lenart, UH psychological counselor. "Don't rush in by saying, 'I know you need my help.' " Consoling a person does not have to include talking with that person.

"Some people don't want to talk about it, but still want people around them," he said. There are many types of support, and helping someone get their mind off something can be one form.

Some people do not talk about traumatic events because of denial or numbness, he said.

The more quiet someone is, "the more you'll want to be there," he added.

A support system of friends and family to understand a person's needs during a traumatic time is extremely important, he said.

"Some people know what they need," Lenart said. "Some people have no notion. To just ask is the cardinal rule.

"If a person is crying, you don't have to ask if they are feeling bad," he added. "If you see someone jumping off a building, you don't have to ask, but anything less obvious, you don't know what they need."

Some people during traumatic periods need to talk to others, while others need to be left alone to figure things out, he said.

Telling a person you are there and asking them if they need anything is better than bombarding them with questions, he said.

"Everyone has experienced other people offering things, and you can hear it in that person's voice if they mean it," Lenart said.

During traumatic events, different people go through different emotional reactions and also different severities of events, he stated.

Before the start of the semester, the baby son of music major Jacquie Roach died after his heart stopped beating. She administered CPR and called 911, but it didn't help, she said.

She cried every day, she said. Only letters and cards from others gave her comfort. The first day of classes was the first day she stopped crying.

Maintaining stability is important for anyone during traumatic experiences, Lenart added. Deaths in the family are especially traumatic.

"Even if you are prepared for the death, it still hurts," he said. "But if you say goodbye to someone in the morning, and they die in a car accident, the shock to the system is much greater."

While dealing with loss and trauma, some people prefer to talk while others don't, Lenart said.

"Don't trivialize trauma by telling someone they should be over that," he said. "You're not an equal with someone you consider less fortunate – they become a second-class citizen."

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NO LONGER ADVERSARIES

JOHNSON, RUCKER BOTH COUGARS NOW

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

<I>Rucker's going all the way to the hole...And it's blocked by Johnson!

Johnson off the pick...Layup! No! Rucker just returned the favor with a block of her own! And we're going the other way!<P>

This was how it used to be for Stacey Johnson and Tanda Rucker.

As budding California high school basketball stars, the two current Lady Cougars guards met on the court during summer league and regular season games.

"We were archrivals and used to play three to five times a season," said Rucker, a native of Berkley who averaged 24.2 points and 10 assists a game as a senior.

Johnson, who hails from Antioch, said: "We had several moments playing against each other all the time."

A three-time all-state selection, Johnson averaged 27 points and 7 rebounds during her senior year.

Thus, brilliant collegiate careers awaited the two high school All-Americans. In 1991, Johnson signed with Arizona State and Rucker chose Stanford.

So the two were able to continue their high school rivalry since ASU and Stanford are both Pacific-10 Conference schools.

And following their first years, Johnson was named to the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, while Rucker helped the Cardinal win the 1992 national championship.

However, following the 1993 season, Johnson and Rucker both decided it was time for a change.

"I didn't get the impression that (Stanford) was willing to include me in their plans and UH did," said Rucker, who averaged just 1.1 points in 19 games. She transferred to Houston after a brief nonplaying stint at Merritt College in Oakland.

A shakeup in the ASU coaching staff at the end of that same season and the implementing of a new system also forced Johnson to go elsewhere.

"Stacey was very happy with our staff at ASU," said current UH assistant and former Sun Devils assistant Margaret McKeon. "She didn't like the new system and decided that if she was going to be more effective, she would have to transfer."

McKeon and former ASU teammate Frozena Jerro being at Houston as assistant coaches seemed to narrow Johnson's transfer choices down.

"Coach McKeon and Fro' were probably the biggest factors to me wanting to transfer to Houston," Johnson said.

So Johnson and Rucker finally became teammates when both transferred to UH before the 1993-94 season. And nowadays when the two try to block each other's shot, it is only in practice.

"I never thought that we'd be on the same team," Rucker said.

As the two-guard in Houston's starting backcourt, Johnson leads the SWC in scoring (21.9 points per game), while point guard Rucker is the conference leader in steals (2.8).

"Both have had a tremendous impact," said Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw. "They complement each other very well since they know each other's game after playing against and with each other in high school."

In a Jan. 2 game versus No. 17 Kansas at Hofheinz Pavilion, Johnson and Rucker combined to score 60 points. But the scoring outburst wasn't enough for Houston as the Jayhawks squeaked away with a 99-98 victory.

"(Close defeats) are always harder to accept," Johnson said. "But with us being a young team (six freshmen and two sophomores) we were able to learn that we could compete against a top team like Kansas."

The 32 points Johnson scored in the loss was not a season-high, however. In her UH debut on Dec. 17, Johnson lit up Stephen F. Austin for 33 points in another slim Houston defeat (98-96).

With Houston set to face Baylor (10-6, 1-3 in the SWC) tonight (7:30) in Waco, both Johnson and Rucker said they hope the Cougars (1-3 in the SWC) can break out of last week's two-game conference skid after losing to No. 7 Texas Tech and No. 18 Texas A&M.

"We need to bounce back and Baylor looks to be a pretty solid team," Rucker said.

Johnson said, "We know (Baylor) has a solid team, even though their record doesn't show it. We're looking at it as a stepping stone for us to get going again."

<I>Rucker's going all the way to the hole...Layup! No! It's a pass to Johnson...she puts it up...scores!<P>

 

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ROAD-WEARY BEARS BRING THEIR UN-UH-LIKE TEAM TO HOFHEINZ

 

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

If you've grown tired of seeing the Houston basketball team, tonight's game against Baylor will at least give you a look at an inverse.

The Cougars (3-13, 0-4 in the Southwest Conference), who will tip off vs. the Bears at 7:30 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion, have had problems with inexperienced guards, lack of height in the middle and scoring.

Baylor has two seniors–point guard Nelson Haggerty and SWC second-best scorer shooting guard Aundre Branch–in the backcourt and 6-10, 215-pound scarecrow Doug Brandt to patrol the paint.

The Bears have also scored an average of 80.9 points a game on the way to a 6-10 overall record (1-3 SWC). They managed triple digits in Monday's 107-100 overtime loss to Texas, that coming after a 98-point output against Texas Christian.

Houston nearly gained its first conference win of the year at Texas A&M over the weekend. Only a late surge by the Aggies prevented the Cougars from overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit and notching their seventh win in eight tries at G. Rollie White Coliseum.

"We can definitely build on that," head basketball coach Alvin Brooks said of the game. "It was one of the best games we've played all year.

"We didn't turn the ball over so much, and we were playing in front of a hostile crowd, so we hope to continue that against Baylor."

Freshman Damon Jones snapped a two-game 5-of-32 shooting slump to go 7-of-15 from the field for 20 points against A&M. He made only two of eight 3-pointers, but showed a nice touch from inside the arc, hitting 5-of-7 shots.

"Damon had some personal things that made it very difficult to play, but I think he's put those behind him," Brooks said.

For once, Tim Moore was <I>not<P> the Cougars' leading scorer or rebounder, totaling 15 and seven in those two categories. However, he is still sixth in the SWC at 19.3 points a game and second with 9.5 boards a contest.

Junior forward Kirk Ford stole the rebounding honors from Moore with nine, also tying him in points. In his last two games, Ford has played well, hitting a combined 10-of-18 from the floor for 27 points, with 11 total rebounds.

Sure, TCU's Kurt Thomas manages the same statistics in one game, but the Cougars will take it.

Baylor head coach Harry Miller said he was worried about his team's lack of rest after an overtime game Monday.

"The Houston game represents our third game in a week," Miller said. "We don't have a lot of time to prepare.

"We've got one practice (Tuesday) morning, then we've got to go play them."

Brooks was cautious about the fatigue factor, however.

"I think they'll be up," he said. "(A&M's) Corey Henderson shoots only 22 percent on 3s, but he hit six of nine against us.

"I think a lot of that had to do with the fact he was from Houston, playing against the University of Houston."

Haggerty (6.9 points, 9.6 assists a game) and Branch (22.8 points, 4.9 rebounds) are both Houston products, from Willowridge and Kingwood respectively.

"Those Houston players always seem to give us a problem," Brooks said.

 

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CONTEST SHOOTS FOR PHOTO HOUNDS

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

Taking a UH photography class or consider yourself a decent photographer? Well, here is your chance to enter your best freeze frame and possibly win a trip for your next spring break or family summer vacation.

Trips to Scotland and Disney World await top professional and amateur photographers in the first AAA Land, Sea & Air, "It Didn't Matter How You Got There" travel photography contest.

The International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum and the Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma division of the American Automobile Association are co-sponsors of the competition. Prize sponsors include Disney, Globus Cosmos Tours, Delta Airlines, Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and Kodak Cameras.

Laura Powledge, a junior journalism major at UH, said she has been interested in photography for about a year.

"I have never entered a contest before, but I would consider this one. Not only would it be fun, but it would also be good experience for someone who has never entered one," Powledge said.

Powledge remarked, "I'd love to take that trip to Disney World."

Entries may be prints or transparencies, in either color or black and white. There is no limit on the number of photos a person may enter. A $7 entry fee ($5 for AAA members) must accompany each entry.

Prints must measure between 8-by-10 inches and 11-by-14 inches. Transparencies must be 35 mm format, mounted on standard 2-by-3-inch cardboard or plastic mounts.

Photographers retain all rights to the works they enter beyond publication of selected winning photos in Car & Travel (AAA's official magazine), publication in announcements of next year's contest and display in an exhibit in sponsors' offices.

Photographers of any age and from any area may enter. Information is available only in AAA offices throughout Texas and New Mexico, and in the Lawton and the Oklahoma City areas of Oklahoma. Deadline for entries has been extended to Tuesday, Feb. 28, 1995.

Call 1-800-950-4AAA for more information, entry forms and official rules.

 

 

GRAPHIC BOX (IN GRAY, PLEASE):

AAA Land, Sea & Air, "It Didn't Matter How You Got There" Travel Photography Contest Awards:

Grand Prize, Professional Division: Grand prize is a GLOBUS-escorted 11 day tour for two, from London traveling north to Scotland and back, with a stop in Wales. Air transportation is provided by Delta Airlines.

Grand Prize, Amateur Division: Grand prize is a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, with accommodations at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort. Air transportation is provided by Delta Airlines.

Second Place Prizes: Second-place winners, both divisions, will attend their choice of summer 1995 classes at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Tuition and air transportation to Santa Fe are included -- winners provide lodging, meals, film, and lab costs. (Admission to some classes requires instructors' review of portfolio.)

Third Place Prizes: Third place winners in both divisions will receive Kodak's 35mm Cameo Camera with built-in flash.

 

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<I>DUMBER<P> SOUNDTRACK SMART CD

by Deanna Koshkin

Daily Cougar Staff

After the release of the hilarious movie comedy, the <I>Dumb and Dumber<P> soundtrack takes off at high speed. Featuring The Crash Test Dummies, The Butthole Surfers, Dee-Lite and a great new release from Deadeye Dick, this soundtrack is a fantastic addition to the motion picture.

Ever need a compact disc that you can listen to for hours without all of the songs blending into one or sounding repetitive? This is the one.

This release has a invigorating, refreshing flow of new musicians and relaxed, grunge-free lyrics. This album offers plenty of variety and diversity with old recording artists as well as a whole slew of the newer artists.

The soundtrack starts off with The Crash Test Dummies' "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead." Their mellow, soothing guitar melodies along with Ellen Reid's light, carefree voice combine to give this album a fabulous start.

With artists from The Proclaimers to Green Jelly, there is a wide range of styles and music, giving the <I>Dumb and Dumber<P> soundtrack newfound diversity, including many old and new faces. From pop rock to inventive, more alternative sounds this album includes something for everyone.

Making their music debut are Willi One Blood and The Lubins. Both bands have been growing in popularity since the movie and release of the soundtrack. Both Willi One Blood and The Lubins have plans to release their own albums shortly.

This release is a great new compact disc that you will never quite get enough of. Check this compact disc out. With all the fresh faces and variety, you can't go wrong.

 

 

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