The Government Accountability Board is putting together a new web site and apparently the company doing the work used an image of Minneapolis in the header of the web site instead of Madison. The Journal Sentinel has more details...
After reading the brief piece, a few things immediately caught my attention beyond the somewhat trite story about the wrong city skyline image being used on the website of a State web site.
First, the fact that we as taxpayers are paying a million dollars for a web site where political campaigns can enter information that can later be searched is in itself a joke. I understand more than most that quality work, especially on web sites, isn’t free or cheap.
But seriously. One million dollars??! For this? http://cfis.wi.gov/
For all the recent negative publicity that MPS has received because they SPENT $20,000 ON IPODS!! you’d think a million dollars for a web site with slightly more functionality than my weblog would raise a few eyebrows. Maybe the media couldn’t think of a catchy enough headline for that story. Who knows.
Secondly, if we’re going to be spending that kind of money on a information portal to serve the people of Wisconsin, why the heck isn’t the contract going to one of the many many qualified companies here in Wisconsin to do the work? Off the top of my head I can name at least five companies here in Milwaukee alone who could do the work faster, better and you better believe it: cheaper.
Instead, we’re paying some obscure company from Connecticut a million dollars to develop a mediocre web site that they’re apparently so dedicated to they don’t even bother to use the right stock images for something as simple as the header graphic. Hardly the kind of behavior that instills confidence in the final product or justifies the mammoth price tag, isn’t it?
Who is this company lucky enough to bag such a monster contact for which understanding of the client’s capitol city wasn’t a requirement you might ask? Why it’s PCC Technology Group of Connecticut of course. This from their website which also makes use of the kind of sterile stock images you can buy for $2.95:
PCC Technology Group, LLC is a leading provider of Business Domain Expertise and Information Technology solutions. Our services include: Application Outsourcing, eGovernance, eSolutions, System Integration, Strategic Planning and Contract Professional Staffing.
Having been around the industry for as long as there’s been an industry to be around, I can tell you that when a company resorts to describing itself with words beginning in “e” (e.g. eGovernance, eSolutions, eBullshit) it should be avoided like the ePlague.
Again, I’d like to point out here very clearly that there are many companies here in Wisconsin who could have done what PCC has done better, for less money and while employing people here in Wisconsin. Keeping and creating new jobs in Wisconsin is important for a lot of reasons.
The least of which is that employees in Wisconsin would use the right cities skyline in a background picture on the web site. Seriously though, everyone knows the importance of creating and keeping good paying jobs here in our State. Contracts like this are a wonderful opportunity to do both.
The final thing about the piece that caught my eye was this part I had to read a few times to believe:
The board is paying Connecticut-based PCC Technology Group about $1 million to develop the new site…
…Tommy Winkler, an ethics specialist for the board, said PCC was using the image of the Minneapolis skyline as a placeholder while it searches for a copyright-free image of Madison’s skyline. PCC did not return a phone call.
Catch that? We’re paying this PCC company $1 million to develop a web site, and the excuse for the snafu is they’re out searching for copyright-free images (ones they don’t have to pay to use) to use on it.
To PCC and whoever the heck else is in charge of this boondoggle: spend the $200 it would take to acquire a copyrighted image for use on the web site. Actually, forget that.
For one. million. dollars. of our money get your Connecticut asses out here with a digital camera and snap a few pictures of the Madison skyline. For that price, get a few of Milwaukee while you’re on your way back to the nutmeg state.
I know a lot of people in this particular industry right now who are going through hard times. Good people working hard to support their young families and facing the kind of choices due to the economy that I pray I never have to.
At a time when we’re bleeding jobs and trying to transition from an economy dependant on manufacturing to one that can seize the opportunities of the information age in Wisconsin, it only makes sense to me that we should be awarding this kind of work to companies here in Wisconsin that are creating careers for the next generation of workers.
That’s why it’s particularly frustrating to me to dig in to a somewhat trite story from the Journal Sentinal and find out what we’re paying to have poor work done by over priced, out of State contractors. It’s unfortunate the paper chooses to focus it’s considerable resources on the silly “OOPS! Wrong picture” aspect of the story when it would take as much time as I spent writing this post for my weblog to dig a bit deeper and just maybe effect some change.
I don’t know why this massive contact was awarded to a company out of State., but I doubt it’s the only one. If it weren’t for them using the wrong picture in a header image for a web site, I wouldn’t have known at all. Regardless, there are serious questions that need to be answered here as to why we’re spending this kind of money 1.) on a web site and 2.) with a company outside our own borders when there are many within that are more deserving and capable.