This assessment was after both signed up to volunteer to do the work and saw it was a human process failing and not a software issue. People tend to point to the parts most mysterious to them when things start to fail - a zSeries frame is in actual reality, a very important big black mystery box that officials with access to microphones are not allowed to touch - perfect.
Don't let this discourage you though, their problems are still very real.
The big bummer is that the crisis almost requires enabling behavior here, in the sense that if there are things wrong with said COBOL system, it's the fault of the NJ gov't for not fixing it a long time ago. People should rescue this for the sake of the unemployed, but can we please fire people for this?
This isn't a red state: They collect plenty of revenue. So IF IT IS COBOL SYSTEM, and not just bureaucrats, it's still NJ's fault.
As Bezos said recently regarding the Seattle city gov't:
They don't have a revenue problem. They have a spending efficiency problem.
They spend even more. NJ is in the worst spot out of all the states:
Part of this revenue collection (tax policy) is why corps are moving en masse, the recent largest example is Honeywell's relocation to Charlotte. NJ's latest tax hike has actually caused them a net loss in revenue.
The insane part of me here is NJ politicians keep clamoring to raise taxes more. It's almost as if they heard De Blasio's campaign slogan and thought it was a great idea.
If they consolidated and streamlined, it would be much more efficient, but there are numerous barriers to this (not least of which how eliminating a bunch of those jobs would go over with the public). They're likely going to have to do something eventually, they just haven't figured out how yet.
In my observation, after 5-10 layers of indirection, it eventually ends up overseas with a young foreign national who makes $3 an hour and absolutely does not have the required security clearance.
Yeah, sounds like New Jersey. I'm surprised that they sacked the team, it would be a very NJ thing to keep them on and just handwave the costs away.
Is that statement directed a programmers who want to help NJ? Because you made a pretty good argument earlier in your post that this isn't a software development problem.
I'd love for them to be wrong, that'd be great.