Monday, August 25, 2014


Unless you're new to this blog you're pretty aware of the ongoing Dunwoody quagmire known as the "CAD-to-CAD Interface." If you are new this blog you really, Really, REALLY want to click here now. And if you went to the latest City Council meeting you were treated to our local elected thespians putting on another episode of As The Stomach Churns.

The theme of this episode was "Why We Will Sign A New Contract When CAD-to-CAD Remains Broken." Our original multimillion dollar contract is up and the new multiyear multimillion dollar contract is recommended by Staff for approval. Some on Council suggested using this opportunity for leverage over (at least one of) the CAD operators. Staff would have none of that and instead offered a rusty knife that others on Council used to figuratively hack off their scrotum and deliver their balls on a silver platter. Too good an offer to pass up they say. Too good indeed.

But to whom do they offer this City's finest mountain oysters? That is an interesting study in modern political organizational structure. Chattcomm is a totally opaque organization that seems to serve little purpose but to provide jobs for City Managers' friends and family as it is these folks, from shareholding Cities, who appoint the Chattcomm directors. It is worthy of note that the directors are not listed on the Chattcomm website and being a pass-thru corporation they skim whatever they want off the top as they watch our dollars go by.

But that's OK because outside of cash-flow skimming and friends and family opportunities Chattcomm is little more that a front for IXP, the company that actually provides the service. But Chattcomm does provide that one degree of separation that insulates corporate cronies from the ire of the citizenry who pay their bonuses. Of course that is a service to IXP and not to us.

While IXP is supposedly retained on a service-based contract the recent CAD-to-CAD disaster has demonstrated changing vendors is not even as simple as moving from Microsoft Word to LibreOffice. Mayor and Council have seconded that emotion by declaring that we dare not threaten to continue with the existing contract's continuance clause lest Chattcomm dump us. "Then where would we be? We can't go back to DeKalb." At this point the knife had been wielded.

Instead what was suggested was that we sign on for another five years and then we can use the "six month notice exit clause" to buy time for "contingency planning." WTF? This City's Staff and Elected Officials have had damn near two years for "contingency planning", something they are either incapable of or willfully intend not to do.

But is this really nothing more than simple cronyism? Or is there more in play? Perhaps Mayor and Council are building a case for buying a stake in Chattcomm. If that is based on the notion that ownership will somehow address the CADtastrophe that contradicts their current excuse that Chattcomm cannot fix the problem as it lies with the other CAD vendor.  Or perhaps they are building a case for a Dunwoody Fire Department which would eliminate the need for CAD-to-CAD altogether. Only problem with that is there is at least one city in DeKalb that uses Chattcomm but has found no existing need for CAD-to-CAD and they do not have their own Fire Department either. One of them is right and one is wrong and it is hard to side with the Smart Team that has pissed away so much money on something that still doesn't work.