Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Fear and loathing on the bayou …

This is the eighth and last column in a series that started at a column called “Wirth-less”.

After a few months on the job I realized how limited my influence was at the computer center that I supposedly directed. Edwards’ powerful commissioner of administration, Charles Roemer II was orchestrating the development path of the center through his trusted lieutenant Bill Allen. By the way, this CR II, the one who went to jail, father of CR III who later became governor.

The Honeywell computer at Charity was running at about 10% capacity, and I was calling on local state agencies to tell them about how we wanted their business. In the process, I was hearing of several Honeywell mainframes destined for agencies I had thought were to be my clients. Further, the system at Charity was to be upgraded.

Allen saw that I was bothered, and got me an appointment to “have an audience” with CR. In our meeting, He basically reiterated the earlier message to leave the consultants to Bill Allen, and added that I should stop worrying about how Honeywell computing power was being distributed.

On returning to N.O., I realized that my position was high enough in the organization to require a figurehead. I also had very little to do within the boundaries placed on me. Allen then delivered an ultimatum that sounded like an attractive offer.

We were building a new house at the time, and Allen suggested that it was ok with them if I just worked on my new house and didn’t even show up at Charity except to pick up my paycheck. Also I could keep the state car. It was left indefinite as to how long this arrangement might last, but I assumed that they were already seeking my replacement.

I gave my notice, thinking I would be a “whistle-blower” and bring the operation down, but once I left I lost interest. CR II was convicted a few years later in a federal sting known as “Brilab.” He served some jail time, but I think won an appeals court case.

After five years as a college professor, and less than one year in state employment, I was ready for the for-profit world.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


Blogger oyster said...

A splendid series! I was totally engrossed throughout.

Many thanks for sharing!

4:10 PM  

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