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Author Topic: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.  (Read 3720 times)

IainB

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I would not have expected this sort of thing was actually still happening in this day and age. It stinks.
Some people (not me you understand) might say that this looks like it could be a combination of corruption/collaboration/waste/gross incompetence in the Library Services unit, coupled with complicit criminal greed and tender-rigging by Cisco, but I couldn't possibly comment.
Never mind. It's only the taxpayers that are presumably being ripped off, so that's OK.

Incidentally, this would be typical of the sort of corruption encountered in third-world economies - for example whilst working on consultancy assignments in the Philippines and Thailand, and on World Bank funded projects in those places.
Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router

Is this kind of thing common in the US? It seems to have been pretty much stamped out in NZ, due to all government purchasing processes being open and rigorously audited/scrutinised.

Renegade

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 09:37:52 PM »
I don't know whether to  :o or  ;D or  :'( or  :-\ . I'm conflicted...  :P
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 04:30:13 AM »
Yet another semi-impulse buy (as in: "Well since we have to spend this money - or give it back - why not just get 'The Best'") on the part of a municipality that had federal grant money for "homeland security" burning a hole in its pocket.

I'd love to know who sold them the routers. That salesman saw them coming.  :-\

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 05:40:04 AM »
Hey - they could connect everyone up and give them free broadband !!!

This is typical bureaucratic BS and it isn';t just the US that sees this.

Many years ago (early 80s) I worked in a college that was given some money to spend on computers. There was a deadline and a rep from Prime minicomputers saw the college coming. £25,000 later a fairly useless (for our purposes) minicomputer was installed for class teaching. Of course the teaching staff avoided the room like the plague! At the time we were teaching programming using Pascal so I wrote a front end for the Pascal compiler to make it look and work the same as Turbo Pascal, after that a bit of teaching went on but it was never used for the 25000 reasons it was purchased!

Renegade

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 06:53:26 AM »
Does anyone other than me get a smug look on their face whenever they hear anyone say something like, "Well, everyone needs to pay their fair share in taxes"?  
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Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Shades

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 07:17:17 AM »
Paying your fair share of taxes is not the problem here. The people that man the offices which allowed this travesty to happen are.

Sure, in the Netherlands we have our "fair" share of government misspending taxes, but for the most part your taxes do go where it is intended for. Because of that Dutch people do not have that much problems paying taxes. If I would tell people living in the US how much taxes you have to pay living in Holland, I would be liable for manslaughter, so I won't.

It is always a people problem.

40hz

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 08:51:41 AM »
^That's the downside of democracy. There are no technical or educational requirements. Those in charge need have no talent, special knowledge, or skills other than to be popular and speak convincingly. Owning a good suit or two, and having a photogenic wife and presentable children, is also a plus.
 :-\

IainB

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 08:52:10 AM »
I was talking about this with a friend and he mentioned that he had heard of a situation in the NZ government in about 2009 where an executive in a large government department had apparently been thought to be tender-rigging an IT selection/purchasing process in favour of a preferred supplier with whom he had strong connections. The executive suddenly resigned - apparently fell on his own sword. It was unclear whether he was encouraged to do so because of the alleged tender-rigging or because of an alleged HR incident of threatened/actual violence towards an individual who challenged him over the matter of the tender-rigging.

Either way, it seems that the rot was removed, but if the removal was initiated by the alleged HR incident, then it could be a sad reflection on the efficacy of the aformentoned "government purchasing processes being open and rigorously audited/scrutinised".

40hz

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 09:03:33 AM »
^I regularly see that sort of thing here with our own municipal governments.

That's the main reason why I don't respond to RFPs from government (or non-profits) any more. Too many "cozy arrangements" and "unvoiced understandings" lurking inside the process. Most times, the preferred vendor has already been selected. The RFP 'cattle call' is only to secure the requisite number of "additional competitive bids" (as required by law) before awarding the contract to the party they originally intended to hand it to.
 :-\

wraith808

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 10:57:23 AM »
Paying your fair share of taxes is not the problem here.

I'd disagree.  I see the point that you're making- that it's the use (and the people) that spawns the waste.

Let's look at it from a different perspective.  If you were paying a utility for a service, and they squandered the monies that had been paid, but didn't have the money left to provide you with your basic services, what would be your option?  You'd switch.

Our government is not able to provide basic services- in some cases schools are having budgets cut because the local municipality doesn't have the money, and the government investment has gone down. But the library next door has a $25,000 router needlessly, that could have funded some of the programs that were cut.

What are your options?  You don't have the option as you do with the utility, i.e. put your money somewhere that better makes use of the funds.  You don't have the option with Social Security to put your money somewhere that you will be able to make use of it when you need it rather than trust that it will be there, even when all indications point to 'no'.

That's why I think that paying your fair share comes into the equation.

That's the main reason why I don't respond to RFPs from government (or non-profits) any more. Too many "cozy arrangements" and "unvoiced understandings" lurking inside the process. Most times, the preferred vendor has already been selected. The RFP 'cattle call' is only to secure the requisite number of "additional competitive bids" (as required by law) before awarding the contract to the party they originally intended to hand it to.

I found that out the hard way after spending several hours, and not a few dollars to come up with a competitive proposal for a couple of RFPs.  The same people would win... and I also found out that if you curried favor with those people, you could get some of the 'subcontracts' before hand.

40hz

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 11:19:25 AM »
I have little patience with the emotionally loaded and frequently manipulative expression: "fair share." Especially when it comes to setting government policies.

I think it might be more constructive if people would focus more on what a responsible level of personal tax contribution should be.

There's far too much emphasis on "human needs" (which are by their very nature boundless) and far too little discussion of personal responsibility and governmental stewardship and accountability as relates to those needs.

Just my :two:


wraith808

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 11:44:19 AM »
^ That was more my point.

40hz

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2013, 11:59:58 AM »
@Wraith - Sorry for the grumble. It wasn't directed at you. Truth is, you talk to most people about this and we're all mostly on the same page.

It's only the news media and the politicos that can't seem to get - or even hear - what the rest of us are saying.

Drives me crazy at times... ;D (the forum needs a "screaming" emoticon btw. <*grin*> doesn't quite cover it.)

wraith808

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2013, 12:33:50 PM »
Some good ones :)

 :onfire: :tease: :wallbash:

SeraphimLabs

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Re: Why a one-room West Virginia library runs a $20,000 Cisco router.
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 06:01:22 PM »
The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant of the Universe. ~Dr McCoy.

This? Is quite possibly the biggest waste of tax dollars I've seen in a good long while.

Almost as much as all the construction materials thrown away or sold at auction that were ordered for building military bases that didn't get built.