Thanks to a proactive Anon, we have a response from Earthlink:
I just wrote to email@example.com (the address I was provided for the CEO) and got the following response to my concerns about this deal:
Thank you for passing this along to us. I’ve put it in the hands of the chief executives involved.
While obviously I can say little, I can say that our agreement is with the City, and is based on our having met the published wireless requirements documents. I’m afraid this may be, at least in our case, a case of unfortunate appearance rather than actual substance.
Again, thank you.
Executive Relations Manager, Asst. to the CEO
(404) 748 7205
With all due respect Mr. McNamara....your executives are fully aware of the potential conflict, and have expressed their concerns with Meffert and the city from the beginning. This is hardly a case of unfortunate appearance, and most definitely shouldn't come as a surprise to you unless you're not communinicating with the Earthlink executives and attorneys involved in the deal. Only after Meffert's attorney assured your attorneys that hiring Netmethods would be "legal", did your company put it's concerns to bed. Even if it is "legal" (and if Meffert is hired by Netmethods or any subcontractor of Netmethods, it is not legal) it is most certainly not ethical.
But hey man, you're the Executive, I'm just a Snake God....what do I know? If you want to put the reputation of your company (a company which I personally think is incredible and one of the great survival success stories of the dot com bust) on the come line over a deal like this...it's your call.