Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The 411 (and the 311) on the city's I.T. director stepping aside

Posted by on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 8:04 PM

From the press release:

Effective August 1, 2008, Anthony Jones, Interim Technology Director will return to his previous civil service position as Management Information Systems (MIS) Director. The City will name a permanent director for the technology division within 90 - 180 days according to Chief Administrative Officer, Dr. Brenda Hatfield.

According to Civil Service policy, a classified employee may request leave from a position and then return to it, particularly in the case of interim director positions. Jones will return to his classified MIS position, where he will be assigned to Capital Projects. He will receive the standard civil service approved salary.

On August 4, M. Harrison Boyd will step in as Interim Director while the City continues its search. Boyd has extensive management and consulting experience in the fields of information technology, e-commerce, and economic and community development.

If you aren't up to speed on why Jones might want to "return to his previous civil service position":

For months, controversy has swirled around Jones and his office, especially regarding questions about his educational background and lack of a college degree. Critics charged that he falsified his resume, with regard to his educational credentials.

Jones has also faced strong criticism for the way his office handled malfunctioning crime cameras throughout the city, and the city 311 hotline, which has faced complaints from citizens and city council members about poor or nonexistent service....

This past week Eyewitness News reported on a Metropolitan Crime Commission investigation into Jones’ lack of a college degree. Through an open records request, the MCC obtained two city applications filled out by Jones. In one, Jones indicated he was six credits short of earning a Tulane University degree. But on a 2005 application, Jones claimed to have been a Tulane student from 2003 to the present. A university spokesman said Jones was only a student from September 2 through December 1, 1998.

Jones’ second application, filled out in 2007, did not even mention Tulane, listing the University of Phoenix instead, saying Jones had earned a bachelor’s of science degree in business management. On May 16, the MCC asked the city to launch an investigation into the discrepancies.

Perhaps Interim Director Boyd will want to look into why the city's 311 non-emergency service has been outsourced to the Lagan Co., a supplier of 311 services to cities like San Francisco and Toronto. The difference between us and them? We're supposed to use 311 to register if we need help evacuating during the next hurricane emergency.

Are you comfortable knowing that more than 6000 elderly and infirm residents are registering for evac assistance with a company outside the city...a company that has exasperated the city council and led councilwoman Shelley Midura to call it "a bad way to use public funds. It's such a bad example of effective government”?

Let's hope Interim Director Boyd is not, and that we finally get the 411 on the 311 that the city council has been asking for.

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