Staff Acts Like There’s Something to Hide at the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services
Have we fallen down the rabbit hole?
A year ago, we sought public records from New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) about a lucrative contract awarded to the software company Ivalua in 2016 to custom-build an eProcurement platform. The new system was supposed to allow some 40 city government agencies to buy goods and services online at lower cost. But the platform still doesn’t work as promised.
We asked the agency for a range of emails and documents and said that our request should be interpreted broadly. Though it dragged its feet for ten months, MOCS finally said it did not have the records requested.
And this on p. 9:
A Taxpayer Boondoggle
We’d already established that New York City government committed taxpayers to spend 340 times more per agency for custom-built software that still doesn’t work compared to off-the-shelf software that the City of Dallas had purchased – that works just fine. Our interest is uncovering who enabled this taxpayer boondoggle.
So, we simplified a follow-up request for records by identifying specific individuals and key words:
The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services responded by saying our simplified request was too ambiguous.
“Unfortunately, it cannot be processed because it does not provide enough information to identify the records you would like to receive. Please clarify your request.”
We are following up.
Who’s Behind the Curtain?
While the Mayor runs for president, City Hall is acting more like something out of Alice in Wonderland, with behavior that is getting “curiouser and curiouser.” Or, it could be just plain old corruption. Taxpayers deserve to know.
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Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative watchdog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP is provided by Renew American Prosperity and individual donors.