The betrayal of public trust evidenced by the DiMasi mess has another stinky dimension. DiMasi and his partners in corruption have been charged with pocketing thousands of dollars in their pay to play scheme. As if this rip-off of taxpayer’s money were not bad enough, the question must be asked about the Cognos software that cost over $17 million.
Cognos software is designed to measure “performance management”. Exactly what does this performance management software claim to do? In theory it is designed to add an objective scale in the evaluation of staff performance. In practice it is both a bureaucrat’s worse nightmare and golden dream. Try as it may, no software can be truly objective and the bureaucrat’s nightmare is that management can rig the software results to show poor job performance. The dream is that Cognos software adds layers of bureaucratic procedures that require more and more staff to implement, maintain and evaluate the computerized output.
In the real world, outside of convoluted government practice, managers evaluate their staffs. This has always been an acknowledged management function, usually subject to review, and is not improved by wishy-washy software that costs millions to buy and millions more to implement. It is not enough that the procurement process for the Cognos software was corrupted by DiMasi and his fellow conspirators, but there was no validity to buying software that added nothing to the efficient running of state government. This was a double-layered stench: using corrupt dollars to buy something that was not needed in the first place.