Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The 411 on 311 starts to take shape

I've received a lot of response on the 311 phone system which is starting to paint a very interesting picture and even brings our old buddy Muppet back into frame. I'll start with two comments I got and then share some extraneous information I gleaned:

anonymous said...
Whether you misstated them or not, Cerasolli's comments were indeed incorrect. You would think someone that is supposed to be a non-partisan watchdog would either have more sense, or more restraint than to make a comment like that. You can't take a budget, divide by the number of people and come up with their salary - not in the private sector, and certainly not in the public sector. Budgets include budgeted but unfilled positions, training, software, hardware, etc. By my calculations I would like to have a $120k inspector job from him. You would have to look at expenditures to determine what is actually going on, and he should have known that.

311 is a little bigger than having a local website design, check out New York, Philly, Chicago, etc. Companies have spent way more than $3m on a CRM solution that are 1/100th the size of New Orleans. BTW, not saying that New Orleans 311 isn't totally broken in it's current state.

You seem to want to extrapolate a lot in the HSOA stuff. I am curious who you have contacted to find out about the bid. Did you call the purchasing department at the City, that would seem like a logical place to start.

In case you haven't noticed...extrapolation is the foundation of this blog. I don't know what is going on. I'm airing the information out in order to find out what is going on. If you have info about the contract, please share...that's why I'm here. Now this:

nois mois said...

anon#1 is right on some points but his bitterness is misdirected. First of all, Dambala you are right about Cerasolli's condemnation of 311. His remarks were a joke and not meant as fact but rather to highlight the enormous budget to do something simple.

On the other hand, you are wrong about the Council having a solution in place. Development of the Council system occurred after the ACS Contract and implementation of 311. Council used a City contractor (Muppet's cronies name Ciber) to build a competing system with the system ACS poorly implemented. While I can understand Council's desire to build something better, however, the City paid twice for the same service and continues to pay for poor service as a result of the termination of the Council's activities. Council should have halted the ACS contract and forced a rebid. Ciber et al could have bidded legitmately and maybe the City and it's citizens would received a better price and service. Instead Council built a competing system on City dollars that basically constituted a double pay and waste of tax payers dollars. Apparently, Muppet's Puppet, Anthony Jones did realize this when he allowed the Council work with Ciber to proceed. Unfortunately for Council, they actually contributed to tax payer waste when their intention was good.

To make matters worse, the City's Public Works department implemented a system that was supposed to be expanded into the Citywide 311 system in 2000. The software was paid for and the expansion and use of the application was halted by Meffert. Thus paving the way for the ACS contract. My City Hall anon says Public Works just paid the vendor to reinstate that system and will be integrating the system with 311 even though it has the capabilities to do both 311 and Departmental work management. So essentially, the City has paid 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! times for a 311 system. Tell me there's not something wrong in the Technolgy Department. But more importantly, it shows how ignorant our leaders and department heads are regarding technology. No wonder Meffert is able to hook and cook so many contracts. No one has a clue who's who and what contractors are connected or not connected to Meffert. I am sure that's why Council wanted all the MIS contracts and held the MIS budget in reserve. All the MIS budget was released except 311. Council could have held them all however the administration used the "Police, Fire and EMS won't get paid" scare tactic to force City Council to release the rest of the MIS budget.

If Cerasolli wants it, this is an easy win to kick off the new year.

This second post verifies some info I just got yesterday from a very informed source. Get this....when Nagin took office, ACS's biggest contract was around 1 million bucks, from our city, no less. The "plan" was to pump this company up over Nagin's tenure to a multi-million dollar company...which it is now....thanks to New Orleans based contracts. Meffert and crew didn't dig that and they're goal was to pull all that cash their way via Ciber then subcontracting down to Imagine, Netmethods, Intelliport or whatever the hell LLC. they were posing as that week.

Now a really good question is "What were the initial contacts between Nagin and ACS....from the beginning of his first term?" We already know his history with Muppet...but what's going on with ACS...yet another Texas based company? They have contracts all through our state from the Louisiana Dept. of Social Services to the N.O. Sewerage and Water Board.

The other note is the sheer amount of money which has been distributed through the MIS contracts. Does anyone have a grand total or even know how much money Nagin has spent? Where is he getting the budget for all this?

Folks...we're not talking about a couple million dollars...we're talking at least a hundred million. I, for one, don't see the return.

I agree with Nois Mois, I think Cerasoli should gut the IT department and the MIS budget right out of the gate. I've heard so many stories I can't even remember them all. It just seems to keep going on...every month there's a new Tech contract which ends up costing us millions of dollars and shit doesn't work....from crime cameras to interoperability to 311 to those fucking, evil green parking thingies which don't take any credit card known to man (ok that may not be Tech contract, but I had to throw it in...I would love an audit of those things to find out how many are actually functional).

Nagin just seems to have a knack for spending a shitload of money and getting shitty results....bomb proof garbage cans anyone? David?


Anonymous said...

Dude, ACS had revenues of over $5bln last year on net income of of $253m. They are one of top 3 IT integrators in the world for the past 20 years. I don't think Nagin pumping them up with cash is going to make one f'ing blip. Clearly, your "very informed source" is very mistaken. You sound like a hick.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Where were they in 2000?

By the way...I am a hick.

Anonymous said...

See if your "informed" source can get the names of the applications used by public works, 311, and City Council then we can see if they really are tripple buying.

Jason Brad Berry said...


oh...triple is one p. I learnt that in my hick school in the hills of Kentucky.

Anonymous said...



Jason Brad Berry said...

These guys?


Or these guys?


Anonymous said...

Dude, if it is either of those these guys should be skewered. Triple (notice the single p) buying or not. What would a "contingency management workforce" or a "remote workforce solution" have to do with the City at all?

Oh, and nois mois, if that is your real name, if by "playing da game" you mean spreading misleading and false information...then yes you and your army play that game very well.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Let's clarify something...Nois Mois wasn't the "informed source" which i was referring to and he/she didn't infer that Nagin was pumping money to ACS...that came from another source.

Having said that...what misinformation is Nois Mois spreading in the original comment? Be specific....

Anonymous said...

I would say specifically that Lagan (www.lagan.com) and RJN (www.rjn.com) and EWork (www.ework.com) are not even in the same category. With the exception of ework, the other two look like fitting applications for CRM and public works management. Since that is the case, I think the rest of his argument falls apart.

Anonymous said...

This is so reminiscent of the games I hear muppet plays in City Hall. Trying to confuse the masses with his technology magic.

"WTF?" Classic...

I had to do a little double checking with my City Hall anon since we have Muppet's attention....

First of all the solution Ciber tried to implement is developed by Metastorm (www.metastorm.com). It is a business process management (BPM)software. Companies specializing in integration use it to build custom software solutions to support specific business processes within government and business sectors. E-work was the name of the development software marketed by Metastorm but I don't think the name is used anymore. Anyway...
The tool could be tailored to any process including 311/CRM. This is why Council said they don't understand why so much money is being spent to solve a simple problem. They feel this way 'cause Ciber built a tool in months that solved the 311 nut by studying the BUSINESS PROCESS of 311 and tailoring the solution to address it. So to answer "anonymous" (if that is the bitch real name), Metastorm's E-works could be developed into a tool that mimics Lagan and RJN with the help of an integrator like Ciber. Therefore, the end product puts it in the same category as Lagan and RJN. This is why Council is so pissed. They saw the promise land but had their "get out of 311 hell" card revoked.

But the point of the thread was not to suggest that one tool is better than the other. Rather that the City is constantly paying and not getting any service. The fact that both Ciber's solution and ACS's solution was in play at the same time is additional evidence of how screwed up the City's technology department is.

I am a technology consultant with no business ties to City Hall (and don't want any) that moved back after the storm. Business is done differently in Philly. They get what they pay for and public officials like Blakely and Nagin come to visit to see the success. I don't understand how one person could be allowed to screw the City up so bad.

Finally, please point out anything that is false or misleading AssNon.
Oh, Don't hate the playa hate the game. ;-)

Anonymous said...


You know I disagree with your opinion, but you fail to recognize that yours is just that, AN OPINION.

If by "technology magic" you mean looking on the websites and seeing that RJN and Metastorm (thanks for clearing that up) doesn't have a single 311 installation, and Lagan does - and if that is magic to you then you are overcharging your clients. If you mean recognizing that Metastorm and Lagan occupy different sectors in Gartner, then once again you are overcharging your clients. But that's just my opinion...

Basically I find your whole post false and misleading, to single out any one line would do an injustice to the false and misleading statements throughout.

Anonymous said...


Bottom line is you can't point out anything and I am sure that is apparent to the rest of the audience. You try to discount my post based on the technicality that the vendors are in different sectors. But you can't discount that each vendor has the capability of providing the same service. It doesn't matter if Lagan is a 311 software and RJN-Cassworks or Metastorm is not.

You seem to be trying to take us down some cost-benefit analysis as a way to justify the purchase of the systems. You fail to realize that what's implied by triple buying is not just the software but more importantly the services to implement it. Your hoodoo works on City Hall officials but not in the real world. But since you are at it, add Unisys to the mix. Wasn't they the vendor before ACS took over? Didn't they have a system in place after Hurricane Katrina. Man, you guys take the milk, the cow, and the farm.

At any rate, to answer your post...

It's not a matter of opinion but a matter of FACT that Metastorm's e-work BPM tool can be developed to function as a first class 311 system. Ciber proved that and that's why Council is pissed. It's not a matter of opinion but a matter of FACT that RJN's Cassworks does have a CRM module. You are right in that it's not a 311 software. It's a work management software that provides very basic 311 capability.

My St. Louis, MO counterpart confirmed Cassworks capabilities this morning.

So, as I pointed out in my previous post. The City had many opportunties to provide basic 311 services and has failed. None of the systems or their providers identified in this post is to blame. The mis-management and abuse of technology contracts is to blame. Now this is an opinion that it is becoming more and more of a fact each day as people come forward with information that exposes the trail to abuse and corruption surrounding the technology department here. However, Cerasoli and/or the FBI will have the final word on that I am sure.

Now for some games. How about True or False!

- RJN has CRM capabilities:
T or F (if false, prove it)

- Ciber and ACS were implementing 311/CRM in the City at the same time:
T or F (if false,prove it)

- The system Ciber developed using Metastorms E-works resulted in a CRM/311 system that Council was pleased with before it was pulled: T or F (if false,explain why)

- The ACS implementation of Lagan was and currently is a failure which is why the City Council turned to Ciber:
T or F (if false,explain why)

- Mr. Anthony Jones, interim CIO, approved the Ciber/Council work only to put a Stop Work order realizing he authorized the development of a competing system to Lagan: T or F (if false,explain)

- You know more about this and was probably involved somehow:
T or F (if true, call the FBI)

Dambala, what's the score baby?!

Jason Brad Berry said...

- Basically I find your whole post false and misleading, to single out any one line would do an injustice to the false and misleading statements throughout.

how convenient.

I find this statement by Nois Mois to be the most significant:

- None of the systems or their providers identified in this post is to blame. The mis-management and abuse of technology contracts is to blame.

And that is the crux of this whole conversation.

ACS has apparently not performed to the standards of their contract and failed to provide a working solution and this contract is still in play for 32 million....fact or fiction?

Ciber proved that that the e-work software could be modified to perform the tasks of the 311 network...what was the cost of implementing this solution and did we pay for that too?

If we did....why the fuck did we pay two companies to perform the same goddam task and we still don't have a satisfactory product?

Did all this happen under the tenure of Muppet or Kurt...or both?

If we cancel the contract with ACS right now, can we save 32 million dollars or save money period by using the Metastorm solution?

Anonymous said...

The crux of your argument seems to be that of course Metastorm can do 311, the vendor told me so. Of course RJN can do 311, the vendor told me so. Fuck it, it is impossible to argue with anyone that has already made up their mind. I don't know the answers to your questions, but if you think those are the important questions, why don't you ask the City, and somebody in an position of authority, not some anon? Have you even made an attempt?

Jason Brad Berry said...

If that is directed at me:

yeah, i have. but not these specific questions because they weren't brought up until this conversation progressed.

I am not a reporter...I never claimed to be. I blog in my spare time (which is increasingly shrinking) and I use this blog as a forum for just this type of discussion. I ask the questions, quite simply, because I don't know the answers.

But if the city is paying a contrator 32 million dollars unnecessarily...you can damn well bet I want to find out and I want anyone and everyone who reads this blog to find out.

And I will ask those questions the next time I communicate with someone who may know the answers.

If it's directed at Nois Mois...I'll let him/her respond.