Detroit bankruptcy trial turns to poor technology

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit's computer system is "beyond fundamentally broken" and years behind the latest software, the city's new technology chief told a bankruptcy judge Monday.

Beth Niblock said she turned down the job twice before agreeing to move to Detroit from Louisville, Kentucky, at the urging of new Mayor Mike Duggan.

The city is proposing to spend $101 million in new technology if it can get out of bankruptcy, with the money coming from savings elsewhere. Judge Steven Rhodes is holding a trial to determine if Detroit's overall strategy is fair to creditors and feasible in the long run.

"It is beyond fundamentally broken. In some cases, fundamentally broken would be good," Niblock said of Detroit's technology.

Desktop computers are "atrocious," she said, with some taking 10 minutes to start. There also have been multiple security breaches since her arrival.

Niblock is the third witness at a trial that started last week and could last several more weeks. She was head of technology for 11 years for Louisville/Jefferson County.

Virtually all creditors, including thousands of retirees whose pensions would be cut, are endorsing Detroit's bankruptcy plan. But bond insurers are opposed because their losses would be significant.