Monday, September 10, 2018

Here We Go Again at MDE

It seems the Mississippi Department of Education blew a bunch of money on a Dr. John Q. Porter contract and is now pulling the plug.  The Clarion-Ledger reported last week:


The state Department of Education spent $840,000 then scrapped a $5.5 million software project initially pitched as a potential cost saver for the state’s school districts.

Since February, the Mississippi Department of Education has spent the federal money on a contract with the Massachusetts-based Public Consulting Group for the Mississippi IEP Data Accountability System, called MIDAS for short.

The agency will not be able to recoup the costs for a project designed to create a statewide online database housing individualized education programs for special education students.

Plans for the MIDAS project were a two-year effort, which raises questions about why it took so long for the agency to discover the project was not feasible.....

The MIDAS contract was approved for a five-year period with the first year costing $1.2 million.

Last week education officials advised Public Consulting Group to cease working on the contract, which will be terminated as of Sept. 30.

In an email obtained by the Clarion Ledger, Chief Academic Officer Nathan Oakley informed districts that MDE was discontinuing the MIDAS project, which was set to launch on Oct. 1.

“MDE has determined that intrinsic technical barriers will prevent the system from fully functioning as envisioned without additional, significant investments outside of the scope of the contract,” he wrote in the email to district special education directors.

Oakley explained to the Clarion Ledger the problem was with the back-end technology.

Similar to the engine that's beneath a car's hood, back-end technology allows for a database's operations to occur in the first place.

"The user interface appeared to work as expected," Oakley said. "The part that districts would see and use and enter information into works as you would expect to see, but the back-end technology did not or could not support the project as it had been envisioned on the front end."

Language in the contract indicated MDE intended "to be actively involved in the day-to-day progress of the project.”

It's unclear whether the agency became aware of the problems prior to a review of IT contracts by Chief Information Officer John Kraman, who joined the agency in the spring.

MDE's former chief information officer, John Porter, signed off on the project. Porter resigned in November 2017 for personal reasons, according to the Associated Press.

Kraman reported the state would have to have a major investment of time and labor to support the project long-term.  Rest of article.

Shocker.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

With all that wasted money you would think Democrats we're in office, heck didn't they just pass a bill with a bunch of earmarks in the special session too.

Anonymous said...

Tip of the iceberg for this state. I'd follow the money and make sure none of it made its way into an MDE employee's pocket, either former or current.

Anonymous said...

So, flying and paying for the plane while it's being built!

Anonymous said...

Dumb southerners are no longer interested in Trump. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

3:44 - the State Supt of Education is not an appointee of the Governor (repub or dem), but rather of the board. Before you throw out those nice partisan barbs, ought to go check its composition (and how it got to be so screwed up in its appointees) and when this woman was given the position to waste this money.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't begin to take into account the work done on the district side to be ready for the transition. Now some districts will have to scramble to have an operational system if they had already ended their prior contract. Doing work three times on the district side seems to be the way of both MDE and the legislature (testing changes three years running) and then both turn around and blame the local districts. PERS is going to continue to be busy.

Anonymous said...

Just continuously pitiful performance by all involved. No shame at all. No accountability at all. Pitiful.

Anonymous said...

In my effort to understand what is meant by 'intrinsic technical barriers', I've spent a bit of time in quiet study.

The intrinsic qualities of something have to do with its nature. An intrinsic quality of dogs is that they're loyal. So, I guess intrinsic, in the context of MDE means 'within its framework' or 'as it applies to this entity'.

Next I considered technical and barriers. I believe that means studious stuff of a difficult nature that presents roadblocks or hurdles or complications involved in execution. In other words, "We gonna get our ass caught with this shit project."

The best I can come up with, then, is MDE (and the person who wrote that memo) have realized that there is a turd in the soup which will eventually call the whole boondoggle into question and wind somebody's ass up in jail.

I also believe there is a clear correlation with the example of a 'dog being intrinsically loyal'. A pig is also loyal to the farmer who feeds him each morning. And a pig at the government trough is damned sure loyal to the person at the top who continues to pour slop into the trough...and especially if the person at the top, feeding the pig, is also the person getting bacon from the pig.

People need to go to jail. Simply put, Carey Wright needs to go to jail before she is allowed to catch the next plane out of town.

Anonymous said...

There are many stupid democrats and many stupid republicans. And, there are many stupid people who try to pin stupid government on one party or the other. Bottom line is that there is much, much stupidity in our politicians (of all parties). But the blind followers are convinced by the slick politicians to argue partisan politics instead of focusing on getting good, qualified leaders. Democrats and Republicans alike will vote for a dumb shit politician from there own party because they are groomed by those same dumb shit politicians to vote party and not look at the people. I admit that many, if not most, times both candidates are dumb shit politicians (i.e. the current senate race). What do you do? Forget about the freaking party, and try to pick the best person.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for Super Shadrack's announcement that he will go after the $830,000 given to a c oontractor that produced no work product.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the Attorney General supposed to file charges or at least investigate what contractor's pocket that money was paid into? Jimmy "Bobo" Hood? Nah, he's too busy playing social worker in cahoots with Duncebert Hoseman trying to be well-liked, and telling his wife to leave him alone so he can figure out who the hell he is.

Anonymous said...

So the Department hired a group to do some sped work and when they couldn't do what they said they could do they canned them? Why is everyone losing they minds?

Anonymous said...

Shad already said his office is not pursuing. There is no money missing, we know where it is. This is a civil matter between MDE and the contractor if MDE wants to pursue it. And I can tell you with full certainty that the MDE will not win as there is no way in hell anybody at MDE understands a software licensing agreement better than a software company. '

I would however be interested in seeing any campaign contributions from said software company or from whatever agent or reseller hooked them up.

Anonymous said...

8:31 - Did you think you were on some other thread? This one is about the State Department of Education and one of its contracts.

Anonymous said...

Any news on how the JPS consultant contract is going, you know the one with the group the new superintendent used to be employed with a few years ago?

Anonymous said...

Guarantee you the contractor has a record of the work performed as well as every stupid change in the specs that was made mid-stream. Problem #1 is having a bunch of PhD's running around at MDE that know nothing about how to administer such a large technology project.

Anonymous said...

WLBT interviewed one of the dipsticks that was in charge and he explained that the software could not do the necessary reporting that was needed for the system to be worth the investment. This almost happened to me in my business.
If you don't ask the right questions, get tons of references, they will sell you have the system, get your data transferred, train your staff, and when you find out you have been screwed, you pay them for the rest of it. No choice.

Anonymous said...

MDE has attorneys from the AG’s Office reviewing contracts.

Anonymous said...

Who does this Carey Wright woman have pictures of and who is she kin to?

Anonymous said...

"MDE has attorneys from the AG’s Office reviewing contracts." That's called subterfuge to appear like they give a shite. Who knows who at the service provider? Probably Carey Wright connected....quid pro quo. Case closed. She needs to be jailed for fraud/theft or criminal negligence.

Anonymous said...

5:59pm Do you have evidence that the assigned AGs are not competent, or willfully negligent in their job? Do you have evidence of fraud/theft? Otherwise you sound like either a garden variety "all gubment employees are either lazy or crooks" person; an everything is a conspiracy type; and/or are a straight-up misogynist. The contractor got fired. They weren't protected or given an increase in the contract. Isn't that what one would expect to see? Now go put your aluminum hat back on and hide from the black helicopters.

Anonymous said...

How about collecting on an insurance policy protecting the customer from paying for a product that proved to be inadequate. Please tell us MDE has such a a provision in its contracts with the vendors.

Anonymous said...

7:26 posing as just another overweight woman at MDE lectures us on 'how to recognize a misogynist'. Meanwhile, she knows how well Carey Wright is connected (to the gills) with these contracts, many having been made with a company or companies she has prior connections with. Since the day she landed at Medgar, she's doled out state monies to her old business buddies.

If you think there's no quid-pro-quo going on deep in the bowels of MDE, you're a damned idiot.

Anonymous said...

I worked as the Database Administrator for MDE and I took the job at the invitation of the CIO leaving lucrative contracts to serve my State. When Porter arrived, I resisted all the useless contracts he started doling out.

No wonder Porter fired me, though I have worked more extra hours than anyone else in the IT department and I was the only qualified Database Administrator for their student databases.

I got a private sector job almost doubling my salary in Jackson itself after a long deserved vacation of seven weeks. I will go back anytime sanity returns to MDE. I just wonder though if it ever will happen.

Anonymous said...

Soon it will come out how deep the fraud/corruption have been for over ten years at MDE. Similar to the Department of Corrections scandal, the size and scope are enormous. The difference is, sadly, no one really cares about individuals being incarcerated (how many have died in a month?) nor the billions of taxpayer dollars lost on Stacy Pickering's/Jim Hood's watch. THIS scandal will involve the holy grail of children and really hurt the state when the feds get involved. No tin foil needed.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading these comments and just have to shake my head. Some of you should consider a move to another state where government is perfect. Now let's see...Alaba...no....Louisi...oh God no....Tenn..well maybe you should all just move to Canada. Mistakes happen. They get addressed. People try to improve the system. You Internet cowboys make it worse.

Anonymous said...

Shaking your head......does "a more perfect Union" mean anything to you? Sheesh. How about just following the law? It's the limp, apathetic ilk like you that have a "why bother" attitude about things that CAN be rectified. Glad you're so comfortable that you don't have to give a damn about anyone but you and yours. You're not even a member of your community as evidenced by your indifference.

Anonymous said...

STILL haven't seen this story on Mississippi Today. BUT, little wonder why not.

Anonymous said...

"Shaking my head (8:32)" is nothing but a member of the 'Crime Is Everywhere' crowd. Nothing to see here, move along, what's a half billion or so?

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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