By Chris Frost
Oxnard-- The Tri County Sentry's conversation with Oxnard City Manager Alex Nguyen continues with the city's purchase of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.
The Oxnard City Council acted to move the city's computer system into the 20th century, Oct 1 and authorized purchasing the program from Tyler Technologies Incorporated.
Nguyen said the system would start soon and be incremental.
"At each increment, there will be a significant improvement," he said. "That's going to be good in terms of minimizing mistakes, and it's going to be good for staff morale."
With the ERP system, Nguyen will be able to get an analysis done quickly.
"Right now, if I ask the staff to analyze something for me, they have to extract and reassemble everything manually, run the analysis and calculations manually," he said. "In the new system, it does all that for you."
Nguyen is shocked that employees still work for the city with such an antiquated system.
"I know it's a big investment," he said. "The price tag seems high, but an organization this size, with the responsibility that we have, it's not that big of an investment. It's a multi-generational investment that will last between two and three decades."
He compared it to replacing a transmission in a car.
"If you keep a car long enough, you have to do it," he said. "Otherwise, the car won't work. You can't go without a functioning transmission."
There is a small cadre of people opposed to the upgrade, and Nguyen said they're out of their minds.
"They claim to know what they're talking about, but they certainly don't," he said. "We're talking about a modern tool. We're in the data, digital, and technology age, and we don't have the tools. You can still wash clothes down at the creek with a washboard and some river water. But why would you want to do it? You can have a modern washing machine do a whole load for you while you're doing something else."
Nguyen said some people demand changes at city hall, but they resist anything new.
"My job is to consistently and constantly push this organization forward into the 21st century," he said.
Naysayers out there who think that Nguyen will get frustrated like Former City Manager Greg Nyhoff and leave are fighting a losing battle.
"I hope someone says that," Nguyen said. "If that's your fantasy world, Mr. or Miss Natsayer, what do you gain out of that? What does the city achieve out of that? How does that make anything better? Almost everything I do with few exceptions, I have to do openly, transparently, and publically. It has to stand up to all kinds of critique and criticism. I welcome those kinds of questions and allegations and don't shy away from them."
With everything going on in Oxnard, he said the staff can get overwhelmed.
"That's why leadership and good, sound management matters," he said. "I have a strong executive team, and we do our best to be supportive and give them the resources they need."
That is we he proposed the budget cuts for this fiscal year.
"We can't keep over-promising things and not be able to deliver," he said. "Do you want to have an organization that does everything poorly, or would you want an organization that does fewer things but does then well? Doing things better is my goal. I want to be able to deliver all the things that people desire, but we have to be realistic. We have significant capabilities, but in some areas, we need drastic improvement."