On Monday the 18th the LDOE website, Louisianabelieves.com went down for a few hours in the middle of the day. This was immediately tweeted about by Will Sentell and covered in the Advocate and KATC-TV 3 and nefarious reasons were given for this brief outage. The implications of the articles covering this story were that this was somehow related to the Jindal administration’s ongoing pseudo-fight over Common Core. In a quote in Sentell’s article, John White correctly stated that the site went down because of the failure of DOA (the executive agency that reports directly to Jindal) to pay a 280$ bill. While technically accurate, this statement was surrounded by ominous sounding implications and was written to be intentionally misleading. For instance, it was further implied that the timing was fishy since this happened just before a ruling was expected in the legal case brought by some random teachers and parents, a corporately funded astroturf organization (BAEO) and a charter school operator over Jindal’s executive order to halt the funding of an improperly executed contract that was to be used to purchase Common Core specific high stakes tests. The Jindal administration’s spokesperson, Meghan Parrish, claimed that this was unintentional and that it was paid immediately.
I suppose the implication Sentell and others are trying to make is that this lawsuit was timed to coincide with expiration date of the domain name registration that was purchased 2 years ago and that somehow their cause is advanced by having the site down for a few hours before a lawsuit verdict is rendered in the case? I suppose if the site was down for more than a day, and that all news on the planet was acquired and distributed through the LouisianaBelieves.com website, that might make sense on some level, to someone. However the truth is actually much less sinister and much more interesting and newsworthy. Back in March of this year DOA consolidated all IT shops into one under the DOA umbrella. All IT expenses must be paid through DOA now. During this vast undertaking some licenses and registrations got lost, overlooked or never made it to the right people to keep track of them. The domain for LDOE’s website was one of those things. You can see the details on the IT Consolidation Plan/project here.
The Office of Information Technology with support from Deloitte Consulting initiated the process of creating a roadmap for transforming Louisiana’s IT environment into a consolidated model for service delivery in November 2013. The process included interviewing departmental/agency CIOs, business leaders, and staff, as well as examining the existing infrastructure, services and organizational structures of current IT operations. The IT Consolidation Plan was completed in March 2014, and 21 actionable deliverables were produced.
It’s a shame we don’t have folks that actually try to investigate and report the news, and prefer to report rumors and innuendo. Just who is the trusted news source, and who is the blogger here, anyway?!?!
The IT Consolidation Plan resulted in many agencies losing their employees on paper, while the employees remained in their current roles and offices at their respective agencies. I wonder how much all of this is costing or saving the state? Is this is resulting in better or worse IT service and responsiveness? I wonder how many more glitches like this are out there we don’t even know about? It would seem like someone should be investigating and reporting on that rather than choosing to make a big deal about a 5 hour outage because someone forgot to mail a check.
Is it any wonder bloggers like me exist?