"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The :Last Of The Mohicans

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "New Information": 
Back to basics. This all began when Evelyn asked about construction in her neighbourhood. The mayor said the new system would provide the answer if she asked the top guy. I assume she asked the question. Was it answered and, if not, what does the Mayor have to say about it ? If the system answered the question, we are wasting time here. Cut all the tech stuff. Back to basics. Was the construction explained?
I posed the possibility the new system might provide details of
the work order  which would  allow me to explain the nature of the problem and  the number of workers engaged, man hours employed,  separate pieces of equipment, cost per hour exactly to the penny how much the job cost to my observant neighbor.
The Mayor agreed  the system would provide the information. 
Indicating  he had the same understanding of implementation as myself. 
We were both mistaken it seems. .The software is not yet implemented.
I did not receive details of  cost of the  work order on my neighbour's property.
The situation led to inquiries in two  new directions. 
One, to determine from my neighbor, what  experience  led to the call to the works department.
Last Fall a subsidence was noticed in the vicinity of the water shut-off valve on the front lawn.
It was checked by the works dept and went  on a list of things to do
In  Spring, after several more calls, the works department came to attend to the problem in accordance with its place on the list 
A strip of lawn  about a meter wide and two long was carefully cut and rolled back.
An excavation  followed. A water  pipe was inadvertently ruptured and  had to be repaired. The excavation was filled,sod replaced . and a fresh crew brought in to water the grass. 
Information I received from the Director  revealed  the  project involved several crews with different expertise.It did not reveal the source  of the initial problem of lawn subsidence.
Lay person that I am, it has always been my understanding  if the ground subsides, whether it is  in a road or  a lawn in the vicinity of water infrastructure, the likely cause is a water break.
The unanswered question  is whether  a water break caused the lawn to subside in the Fall, which meant  a continuing water loss in that location over a period of months?
Or, less likely,  was the pipe broken at the time of the excavation  immediately  repaired and no water lost to speak of or record in
maintenance of assets and how the matter was handled.
My second question was  the status of the software program to record asset inventory and track maintenance.
At this  point I had still not caught on to the name, Maximo.
My first query was by e-mail  to the manager of the IT department. I received a response from the Director of FInance with  admonition not to ask questions of staff under the level of Director.  Attached was the e-mail from the IT Manager, accompanied by  my query and assurance to  the Chief Financial Officer  the manager had provided  no information. 
The  Director of Finance informed me of the  associated  Director in charge of  the program. He  added it  is not yet implemented. It is complex and  is to be done in two phases.
The Director in charge noted  a delay in the schedule caused by a production problem in Asia. 
I received a table.  I posted  it a couple of days ago, outlining 
the program, total  cost and the timetable. Total anticipated cost is $788,611. Software package approved for purchase in November 2011.   $38,000  was overlooked and added on in February.2012.
I received information from a source that the Region had purchased the same software.in 2004, eight years ago. and  after add ons and adpatations and staff changes were still  not receiving the benefits
From two regional staff I received two perspectives. One 
stated  the prorgam was finally  beginning to show some benefits.
Another, the manager dealing with the program was  more positive  but acknowledged there had to be  adaptations in nodules and staff  and licences required to use the system had gone from $56,000. to $100,000  a year because more employees were using the program.
That means,  additional staff, additonal adaptation costing more money, and additional cost of annual licencing , operating costs are, at least, a quarter of a million dollars more than anticipated.
After eight years, adaptations are unlikely to be reflected in the capital cost of the program. More likely to be hidden in annual cost of operation. 
I suspect, since the Mayor's expectation of  timetable was no different to my own, news about  time taken at  the region to get this  program under way  may not be a welcome surprise.
Nor  indeed should it have been a surprise at all. The Region's experience should certainly have been reflected in the advice received by Council. It was not. 
If  the program ever becomes  useful  at the local level, there will have been an election in town before it can be proven. 
That's the political reality. .   

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