Friday, October 24, 2008
If HTA chief had to resign over improper emails, shouldn’t DBEDT head resign after procurement irregularities?
by Larry Geller
Let’s have some balance around here. Rex Johnson was forced to resign over forwarding offensive emails from his work computer. Fine. Now, a lengthy investigation by the Senate has reached conclusions over alleged violations of state procurement law on the part of Ted Liu, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism's (DBEDT), and his management team.
Hearings were extensive. According to a post yesterday on the Senate Majority Caucus website:
The Special Investigative Committee conducted thirteen hearings lasting over fifty-six hours, received testimony from twenty-two witnesses, and received in excess of twenty-one thousand pages of documents in response to subpoenas.
The article includes videos and offers to provide DVDs of the hearings to the public. There is also a 36-page report: Report of the Special Investigative Committee on the Hydrogen Investment Capital Special Management Contract Award.
There is an extensive list of findings and recommendations in the report right near the beginning, and it is best to read these in their entirety. Here are the first three findings:
• That the DBEDT Director (Director) sought to manipulate the procurement process and bypass procurement laws and rules to steer the Hydrogen Fund Management Contract to his favored bidder;
• That the Director had a pre-existing personal relationship with Barry Weinman which he concealed upon questioning by the Committee;
• That the Director allowed Mr. Weinman to be inappropriately involved throughout the procurement process including the preparation of the work plan which ultimately led to the Request for Proposals for the Hydrogen Fund Management Contract (RFP);
And the last one:
• That there is a reasonable belief that the actions taken constitute a knowing and intentional violation of the State procurement laws and rules by the Director and his top management team.
When I went through the whole list I was impressed at the seriousness of the charges that they represent. This should concern us more, as citizens, than did the sending of offensive emails from a work computer.
Should Ted Liu resign, as Rex Johnson did?
Many Disappeared News readers are activists at heart. Why not weigh in with a few letters to the editor after you review the Senate findings or the videos? Should Liu resign? Should the governor take appropriate action? What do you think should be done?
We’re headed for tough economic times, and I hope that we all want the best leadership obtainable in this key government department.