Saturday, July 14, 2012

Low Hanging Fruit

Picture it: Early Saturday morning July 14, 2012.  I have a free moment prior to a busy day of kids baseball games and decide to log into the Joint Commission on Public Ethic’s online filing system to review some bimonthly reports that I had previously filed. 

Full Disclosure: I am a long time user of the Commissions electronic system.  As such I am aware that prior to filing due dates, their system slows to a crawl and it becomes almost impossible to navigate.  I know enough to file early and during off-peak times, because that is the safest way to insure timely filing with minimum disruption. As an aside I bet Ellen Biben has never tried to file a report on her own system.  As a result of my obsessive desire to avoid being trapped by the JJOKE vortex of incompetence, I have already submitted the required reports due on July 16, 2012. 

As I type in the Commission’s web address and click on Lobbying Online Filing System, I get Server Error.  Wait, what? I was a little startled for a moment, so I closed my Internet Explorer Browser (because the Commission’s system is only compatible with Internet Explorer) and open a new window and again type in the Commission’s web address.  I click on Lobbying Online Filing System once again and see the same message on my screen.  Server Error.  Along with a bunch of jumbled numbers and letters, there is a statement that says, “There is not enough space on the disk.” Now I am not by any means a “techie” but that’s probably not a good thing.

And then it hits me . . . maybe Ms. Biben  should stop handing out $100,000 jobs to her friends or rushing to open a NYC office to coverup the fact that she has not been in the Albany office on a regular basis since being hired and utilize her multi-million dollar budget more effectively and fix and/or update and/or improve the Online Filing System.  It seems as though newly appointed Commission staffers have already forgotten the real reason why they are in those positions in the first place.  Here’s a reminder, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics is first and foremost a disclosure agency.  The mission of the Commission should be to make the information that is reported by lobbyists and clients available for public inspection.  To do that you have to allow them to file their reports.

Well it’s 10:45 on Saturday night and the system is still down.

Do you think any of the mucky mucks at the JOKE could break away from their weekend homes long enough to put down their martinis and lobster and fix the server error?

Do you think they even know about it?

I know I criticize them a lot but this one is too easy.

I guess if I had spent all day needing to use the system I’d be more cutting in my criticism.  Instead I’ll just give some unsolicited advice.

On Monday morning find someone in the IT department to blame, avoid responsibility for the fact no one is monitoring the system prior to a filing date and then tell the lobbying community they have an extension until Wednesday to get their reports in or they will be fined.

Judging by the way the Commission has handled issues in the past six months, I’m sure this will have to be someone else’s fault. 

Maybe just maybe the commissioners will realize that with absentee management comes a broken system.

If Biben et al can't keep the filing system working does anyone trust them to keep the New York State ethics laws enforced?

Care to bet when the system gets fixed?

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