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Hearing to focus on IT projects

State Senator Brian Joyce, chairman of the legislature’s Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, will hold a public hearing at the State House on Wednesday to examine the way the commonwealth undertakes technology projects.

The 10 a.m. hearing is scheduled in the wake of several prominent information technology projects worth tens of millions of dollars that went awry.

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The Department of Revenue fired one firm, Deloitte Consulting, after paying it $54 million of a $114 million contract to build a new tax system. And Deloitte’s $46 million overhaul of the state’s unemployment system was late and full of errors that kept hundreds of people from receiving benefits for months.

Deloitte has defended its performance, but an investigation by another senate panel resulted last month in findings that the New York-based firm and the state agencies failed to work together well and wasted taxpayer dollars on large IT projects.

A third major project, to build the IT platform for the online health insurance marketplace, the Connector, failed entirely. The state recently fired the firm CGI from that job, which was federally funded. The Montreal firm told the Globe in March that it had “worked tirelessly to deliver a health insurance exchange for the residents of Massachusetts.’’

Joyce is holding the bonding hearing in advance of the state borrowing about $830 million to finance more IT projects. He plans to question members of the administration about the state’s existing IT infrastructure and planned investments, a spokeswoman said. He also plans to inspect the state’s IT procurement practices and the affordability of taking on additional projects.

Beth Healy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.
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