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Reply #84: RED FLAG #1 -GAB director, Kevin Kennedy's illegal contract with Accenture [View All]

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eowyn_of_rohan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #37
84. RED FLAG #1 -GAB director, Kevin Kennedy's illegal contract with Accenture
Edited on Sat Apr-09-11 04:50 PM by eowyn_of_rohan
Remember HAVA the Help America Vote Act? One of the requirements was for states to have a statewide list of voters. In 2004, Wisconsins State Elections Board director Kevin Kennedy put out a request for proposal to potential vendors to create the list.

While HAVA requires compliance in seven areas, Kennedy included over 500 criteria for vendors, including a nearly insurmountable requirement that the vendor had done a similar contract with at least one million voters in the past. This made Wisconsin vendors ineligible, and opened the door to only the few companies that could meet the requirement, including Accenture.

Here is an excerpt from a Madison WI Capital Times article, published Sept. 2005:

John Nichols: Elections chief owes us explanation
By John Nichols - September 22, 2005

(In 2004) Kennedy was lobbying to award a $13.9 million contract for the creation of a statewide voter database to the controversial technology giant Accenture.

Kennedy was told at the time that the price tag for the project was far too high - Minnesota got its database work done for about $5 million. Kennedy was told that Accenture had a problematic track record - the company's work on voter registration and other technology issues has drawn criticism in states across the country.

In Florida, where officials were trying to clean up their elections after the 2000 presidential recount debacle, the St. Petersburg Times newspaper reported, "The state then turned to Accenture, a huge consulting and technology firm, to create a list that election supervisors were to use this year to screen felons whose voting rights had not been restored. But the list proved inaccurate."
In Kansas, Accenture was hired to develop a voter registration system but the relationship proved so troublesome that the state canceled the contract several months later.

As more was learned about the cost of the project and the company involved, Kennedy was counseled to change course by state legislators, experts in elections and state politics and groups working for clean government. Hundreds of Wisconsinites rallied outside the Elections Board headquarters to urge Kennedy and the board to reject the Accenture contract.

(*Many labor union members protested that day, and non-union members too, including me)
... Wisconsin vendors warned that the state was being "fleeced" and detailed how the project could be completed - with much of the work being done by current state employees - for far less.

When the board followed Kennedy's recommendation and decided to go ahead with the Accenture deal, officials with election reform organizations, heads of public employee unions and state Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, grew so concerned that they filed suit in an attempt to block the deal.

Kennedy would not listen. In fact, he kept cheerleading for the Accenture deal even as Elections Board employees quietly warned that things were not going well.

*(Kennedy signed it anyway, without the Board's approval. Several people sued the state over the contract, saying it was illegally awarded to Accenture because Kevin Kennedy signed the agreement before the board voted on it).

In July, Kennedy wrote an opinion piece published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the headline, "New state voter registration system is right on track." At the time, the Elections Board had already quietly approved an additional $1.4 million in funding for what was already an excessively costly project. Now, just two months later comes a new Journal Sentinel headline: "Voter registration system delayed: Testing finds too many errors to meet deadline."

To the surprise of no one, except perhaps Kevin Kennedy, testing by Elections Board staff and volunteer clerks revealed multiple system errors in the state's new voter registration and election management software. According to the Journal Sentinel report of last week: The system "is not ready, and the deadline to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002 won't be met."

...Kennedy owes Wisconsinites a lot more than a late-in-the-game expression of dissatisfaction. He owes us an explanation for why, when so many people in this state warned him that he was making the wrong deal with the wrong company, he encouraged the board to go ahead with it anyway.

And he needs to explain why, if Accenture's performance has proved unsatisfactory, he continues to refer to the firm as Wisconsin's "partner"?
Isn't it time to consider canceling the contract and putting Wisconsin vendors and state employees to work on a simple project that could have been completed months ago at a fraction of the cost?
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