Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shifting Sands, Shifty Hands?

A small drama has been unfolding within our city IT deparment, unbeknownst to most.

Our city portal services were being run by a Scott Domke company, MAS Group (as a subcontractor under VisionIT) which I believe is registered in Plano, TX under Domke's brother's name. The contract was recently re-bid and awarded by CTO, Harrison Boyd, to a company called MSF. This company is owned by a city contractor, Marsayes Fernandez. The migration to MSF supposedly happened on Monday.

There is a lot to be worried about here.

1. Is it legal for a contractor already working within City Hall to create a company and get this contract? I don't know if it is or not...I'm simply asking.

2. I am reading the RFP and the requirment #9 clearly states that the winning company must have a CMS (Content Managment System) in place to run the portal. Why is this a big deal? Because I have been told that MSF did not have this requirement in place and won the bid nonetheless. They were assuming that they could continue to use the CMS which was in place by MAS Group, but apparently they were unaware that the CMS was a proprietary product of Domke and MAS. Which brings me to the third point....

3. Is the portal being maintained right now or is it dead in the water because we don't have a CMS to actually manipulate/edit the data which is being stored on a SQL server? To explain this in an easier manner....it would be like having a bunch of Microsoft Excel documents but you don't actually have Microsoft Excel in place to work with the documents and data.

4. Apparently no one has actually seen the winning bid to MSF yet. Where is it?

5. The RFP specifically states that the company must provide the resumes of their web team members. I am being told that MSF did not have a web team in place when they submitted their bid...so who are their employees?

6. The RFP may have been changed after the bid was awarded to MSF to include an application development project for the NOPD. What is this application which is being developed and why wasn't it in the original RFP?

Here is an organizational chart of the how the contracts were set up with MAS:








Here is an organizational chart of how the new hierarcy is set up with MSF:










There is obviously a lot of tension going on here as the mere mention of the matter brought on this comment:

Well, well, well....

First, Meffert becomes a target of a criminal probe.
Second, AZ reveals himself.
and now this...

Scott Domke, GM and the MAS/Onyx crew are trying to use AZ to distort another contractor as business as usual in CH.

WTF?

After 7 years of raping and cheating this City, a Meffert sponsored team loses it's spot at the trough and now they want to use AZ to sling mud. This is definitely "naturally nawlins"

I have often read this blog with amazement and intrigue regarding the accuracy and depth of facts presented but I never felt compelled to contribute until now.

This statement said it all:
"not MSF actually has a functioning CMS (Content Management Sysytem) to actually run the city portal which was previously being run by MAS."

Although this is a quote from AZ, only someone from MAS/Onyx could have furnished such an assertion based on a blatant and intentional misinterpretation of the RFP and the services the City seeks to acquire. It's an assertion that has been circulated in City Hall and contributed to members of the outgoing MAS team.

As someone who's very familiar with the RFP, it was never envisioned for the successful bidder to provide a CMS. Why would the City pay for another CMS when it paid MAS/Scott Domke hundreds of thousands of dollars for the piece of crap Intelliport System? A system I just recently discovered Meffert had part ownership of from this site.

YES. I bet your MAS contributors have not disclosed that fact.

The City has rights to the Intelliport source code and only sought to have the successful bidder operate/maintain and enhance the current portal (Intelliport) solution if based on a comprehensive analysis it is determined to keep the Intelliport system. That's it.

You would think that after 7 years of raking in the cash, yacht parties, vacations, $5,000 stripper tabs and several members of the original Imagine Software/Veracent/Net Methods/MAS currently under criminal investigation and named as defendants in a civil lawsuit (incl. Scott Domke taking the 5th) that these guys would be eager to focus on life after CH or just focus on what little of "free" life they may have left.

Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered! Most people in the MIS Dept are either happy MSF won the RFP or indifferent. However, there is an overwhelming majority that is happy MAS is out.

Marseyas deserves a lot of fucking credit for resisting to sub-contract MAS Portals (GM Boys). Something ACS, Ciber, Benetech and VisionIT couldn't do although these guys are multi-million dollar companies. That in itself is a fucking story.

Don't fall for the head-fake AZ. You should do your due diligence and report whatever you think is worthy but don't allow MAS Portal to use you for the sole purpose of discrediting the new vendor and regaining a contract with the City.

You are not the only one that has come full circle with Meffert. Meffert and crew often bragged how they were going to get rid of Marseyas and take over his business or give it to some token minority company that would play ball. When I first came to City Hall, I couldn't believe such hatred could exist for one person. I approached and engaged Marseyas with a lot of skepticism based on what I heard. Over time I came to believe in his expertise, vision and commitment to the City. I came to appreciate how he handled himself and stayed the course even though MAS was plotting against him on a daily basis. Although the MIS Dept would have been happy with any qualified vendor except MAS I think it's fitting that MSF Global has an opportunity to lead a major initiative in the City and prove themselves.

AZ, when you talk to your MAS contributor, ask him/her to send the source code for the Intelliport system so the City could get back to business. ;-)

September 1, 2009 12:27:00 AM PDT

So this is one perscpetive. Apparently Anon believes I'm easily manipulated....Ok....but I have some questions.

Oh, BTW....I don't know for sure that Greg Meffert has part ownership of the CMS, or if he has ownership in MAS or even still in Intelliport. Don't know that...Ya heard me? Let me say it again....I don't know.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

you need a Phd to keep up with this crookedness!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to sound really stupid here, but why do all these guys want to be crooked in the first place?

They were making good livings, and how much money does a person need?

My life is pretty damn nice and I don't have a pot to piss in. And I DO have dependants to worry about: a kid, two cats, three gold fish (One of whom is a replacement goldfish for the goldfish who died, shh don't tell.), broke friends, aging relatives, and so on...

I'm not living in a dream world where money doesn't matter, I just don't get why it seems to matter so much to some people. When you need a little extra, you can always come up with it cutting grass or tutoring or something, right?

It's not like all these political appointees have astronomical medical bills for wives who need chemo (God forbid). Why are they so obsessed with money and political influence?

Is it the food? Is it the restaurants? That's all I can think of, the food.

But food from home tastes better anyway! I'm a simpleton and I obviously need my dinner.

Great work as usual, Dambala. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

>Is it the food? Is it the restaurants? That's all I can think of, the food.<

Well, for Meffert it may have been the strippers.

Anonymous said...

To hon(est) anon: you're just different -- don't you get it? Call it more evolved, more in tune -- whatever. I've been around a whole lot of nastiness and that's the only explanation I've ever been able to come up with when I've been hungry and broke and yet still just not willing to go there. Oh and also -- us and them have different ideas of what's "fun."

Anonymous said...

Geez. The strippers. I forgot about the strippers. Some strippers are really hot.

But a wife happy enough to fool around with you is much sexier than watching strippers (actual sex is sexy), and generally, if you're wasting your money on strippers, you're wife isn't going to be happy enough to make you happy.

It is cheap and fun to please a good wife.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm going to emblazon "It's cheap and fun to please a good wife" on a coffee mug.

Now back to the IT story. How is it that they did not sort out which technology was propriatory and which wasn't?

If the propriatory technology belonging to Meffert was created or refined while he was running his own business out of New Orleans City Hall and taking a city paycheque, what does that do to the legal status of the technology?

Those of us who do creative work in design fields are careful about which idea drawings belong to us and which ones, produced on company time, might be the intellectual property of our employers.

Dambala said...

From what I understand the portal data is on a SQL Server, so it doesn't have to be managed by MAS's CMS. Apparently there were legitimate companies which bid on the project, including another local compnay, that did have CMS solutions independent of MAS's. These companies did not get the bid even though they officially met the requirement whereas MSF technically didn't.

I think Meffert/Domke started moving the city portal over to their solution right after the storm. Just like the antenna array on One Shell Square....they saw the opportunity to take control of yet one more city service.

The original contract with MAS clearly states that they own the CMS and are licensing it to the city . I don't think Boyd understood this when he awarded the bid....or maybe he did and he thought he would be able to get the code from MAS anyway. I don't know....but what is clear is that there was a deliberate intent to award this contract to MSF in spite of them not actually meeting the requirements of the RFP.

As you can how the commenter coaxed it, "We hired a local guy....he's a good guy....we should be proud of our local guy who got the contract." That's a typical attitude in this city....hire local, regardless of qualification. I don't know Marseyas Fernandez, and maybe he is a great guy....but if he didn't have the tools to do the job I don't understand how he was awarded the contract.

I understand why Boyd wanted MAS gone...I think that is a good move. We need to take a shower from all things Meffert. But this reeks of favortism...and possibly something worse.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining, Zombie. You make New Orleans a good place. I'm sure this shit goes on in other cities, too, but they don't have a Zombie to figure things out. Lucky NOLA.

So who were these other companies that bid, and why were their bids rejected? Were their valid reasons to take a pass on them?

Is there anything special about the rest of the technology offered by the winning company? (If not, shouldn't they step back, as they weren't actually qualified bidders?)

Could the winners do some sort of deal with one of the losers to combine their things to get the best stuff for the city?

That is more appealing than paying Meffert royalties or however that would work. I'm with you on the shower. Strippers and then Chuck E. Cheese, faith and begora, what a guy!

Anonymous said...

ZM maybe you should look at MD with NOPD before you start assuming I'm sure he is bias in his opinion since he works for MAS. The City finally awards the City a cost saving solution to the 5.9 mil they were paying Vision and everyone is unhappy. Get a grip people. When are going to use our own and why was MSF good enpugh to do the work as a sub but not good enough to be a prime I guess we should just keep up the good old boy way of doing business. If MAS was so great why not just respond to the RFP themselves why try and blackmail the current vendor into using you when it is clear he would rather stear clear of gummy hands....

Dambala said...

- we should just keep up the good old boy way of doing business.

I think that's what I 'm asking. Is this a legitimate contract or are we back to business as usual. If you're assuming I'm taking sides on this you need to go back and read what I've written.

- If MAS was so great why not just respond to the RFP themselves why try and blackmail the current vendor into using you when it is clear he would rather stear clear of gummy hands....

I completely agree with you...I think it's bullshit that MSF is now apparently making concessions with MAS to license the CMS but how did we get to this point in the first place when the RFP clearly stated that the contractor must have a CMS in place? Am I failing to see the importance of that requirement? Are we now being bent over by MAS because that requirement was not met by the new contractor?

You tell me what I'm missing...this is an open forum.

Anonymous said...

In my humble opinion this "could be" another scenario of adding so many layers that people stop digging.

Here is my understanding of the situation - MAS has a CMS service that "somehow" they have intellectual property rights, not to the data but to the application.

MFS bids on project even thought they do not have the staff. Those of you in IT know this is common practice because the vendor needs to get the contract awarded before hiring anyone new. This isn't Nola, it's a small business tactic used nationwide.

Despite the "dislike" or perceived conflicts between MAS and MFS, perhaps a deal was cut, we will sub the employees to run the resources (plus a "small" commission fee) "if" you get the contract. They pass the contract to "good solid local IT company that is just trying to earn a living [please tell me you didn't miss the sarcasm]" while that vendor that was associated with the previous regime was outed. However, the same guys are getting paid and we still have a crappy IT department.

Just the skeptic in me - Sparky

Anonymous said...

AZ,

After obtaining a copy of the RFP and reading it, I have to say I don't agree with the interpretation of the requirement I offer the following points:

1. The rfp states that the contractor will "provide" a CMS. It did not say the contractor has to "own" a CMS or have a proprietary solution. "Provide" seems to be the operative word here. The contractor should have or possess the capability to "provide" this solution.

I don't interpret it the way you or MAS has. Furthermore, City Hall insiders say MSF does have a CMS solution to implement but it's up to the City and MAS to resolve it's issues regarding access to the website source code so it can be implemented.

Anonymous said...

You know what is bugging me? Pretty websites.

Picke Construction has one, and B E is going to have to be a magician to convince me that anything connected to HSOA/Benetech/Fradella/etc. is kosher. I read the articles and blog posts about HSOA, and I believe them. I don't care if none of it is illegal, I still think it stinks.

MSF has a really pretty website, too.

I want to believe.

I want to believe the pretty websites.

But I don't.

I am not yet ready to say "Meh" to the MSF guys, but the poster who talked about "so many layers people stop digging" makes a good point.

Anonymous said...

One Shell Square thing = st pierre

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/new_orleans_inspector_general_2.html

Dambala said...

yes...One Shell Square is St. Pierre...I should have specified that. My bad.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem with some of the contributors on this blog they interpret things wrong. The RFP is not to be interpreted by you but to be used a guide to sumbit your best proposal. Again AZ thanks for the outlet to voice our opinion but keep the facts straight when reciting an actual document. Also why is everyone speculating that MSF has sub-contracted to MAS there is no contract in place with them. From what I hear they are trying to strong arm MSF right now to force him to give them a contract or sabotage his new contract. I would not be suprised that if in the near future MSF cancels its contract with the City just so they don't have to use MAS as a sub. So MD who's paying your salary this week since Vision is out are you working for free this week.

Anonymous said...

I hope that MSF is good people.

mcbrid35 said...

Here's the MSF contract from teh city's website:

http://egov.cityofno.com/ECRS_ConView/DisplayContract.aspx?FID=0000000000000000000000000003784

Clay said...

http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/09/greg_meffert_has_ties_to_firm.html

Somebody is reading your blog...

Good.