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Mendoza Blocks Millions For Rauner Administration Computer Revamp

(CBS) -- One of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's pet projects has been brought to a halt by his new nemesis, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza.

Is it pure politics -- or responsible oversight?

CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley has more.

Republican Rauner frequently complains about state government's outmoded, inefficient computer systems.

"We have 260 IT systems that are antiquated, from the '70s and '80s, that don't talk to each other and they should be shuttered. And we're trying to modernize this to 2017 technology," Deputy Gov. Trey Childress says.

But Democrat Mendoza has shut the project down by freezing $26 million in payouts to five consultants. She's accusing Rauner of misplacing priorities with scarce funds.

"We're trying to manage those carefully and those need to go to social services first," Mendoza senior adviser Patrick Corcoran says.

Mendoza questions whether spending on the computer consultants is justified.

"Comptroller Mendoza would like us to invest in human infrastructure over consulting fees, or what's sometimes called 'pinstripe patronage,'" Corcoran says.

The governor's office insists the project is far too complex to complete without outside help.

"We need to focus on governing, getting the real work of the government done, instead of playing politics," Childress says.

Mendoza says she's seeking assurances that the $250 million being spent on this project is necessary, at a time when colleges and social services are being financially strangled.

The computer revamp was actually started by another Democrat, former Gov. Pat Quinn.

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