Thursday, September 03, 2009

$1 Million Campaign Database, $1 Deliverable?

Kevin Kennedy is taking fire for having spent $1 million on a new campaign finance database. Offhand, that fire seems justifiable.

When making a judgment about whether that $million was spent well, it's useful to look at what Kennedy will have to "fix."

Kennedy said changes would include:
- Making the user interface easier to use and feature fewer steps, eliminating those where people have routinely made errors.
- Eliminating a requirement that campaigns choose a donor's occupation from a standardized list. When donors had jobs not on the list, campaigns complained they were forced to guess at which one most closely matched reality.
- Eliminating a requirement that campaigns choose from a list of donors already in the database. The feature was designed to allow the public to easily search for a particular donor's contribution. But Mason said some entries featured inaccurate information and Kennedy acknowledged it has not worked well.
- Making the system compatible for campaigns that do not use standard Microsoft operating systems and Internet browsers.
- Telling dial-up Internet users they can e-mail their reports to the board to be filed in the system.

Kennedy said the agency will meet Thursday with its software vendor, Bloomfield, Conn.-based PCC Technology Group, to make additional changes

Maybe Kennedy should ask PCC Technology what planet they live on, too. A state-wide system which is incompatible with dial-up 'net, and incompatible with Mac is a system for which someone has overpaid, Kevin.

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