The good folks (or, if you prefer, morons who suckle at the bosom of Governor Perry) in TXDOT’s leadership have decided that it’s time to shake things up and look at outsourcing IT. Because, you know, that worked brilliantly at other state agencies. Rather than spend $15-20 million upgrading systems and hiring additional personnel, they’re going to spend as much as $158mn of their $188 budget request on a sop to a private company, probably one whose executives and staff have a solid contribution history with Governor Perry. But, hey, they wouldn’t be Republicans running a state agency if they weren’t looking to spend 9-10 TIMES what it would probably cost the professionals on staff to modernize the system.
This is, honestly, a bit like a landlord blaming a tenant for not performing required maintenance on a rental property. Then, when the structure is in serious disrepair, throwing the tenant out, demolishing the building and constructing a new one that is then rented to someone paying half. It’s a trade that makes zero financial sense. Kind of like the decision someone who has spent most of the adult life in politics would make if handed the reins to a massive, and massively underfunded, state agency.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just saying that this is doomed to failure because of Phil Wilson who is essentially little more than an bush league PR flack and ideologue hell bent on doing what his faith tells him is right, damn all evidence to the contrary. I’m also saying this will fail because the professionals best in a position to make a decision on the feasibility of a proposal at the ones being cut out of the loop, as if they are to blame for the lack of funding over decades. Which brings us back to Wilson who is making this decision because he doesn’t understand that the current state of the IT infrastructure at TXDOT isn’t the result of negligence on the part of the professionals that work there, it’s the result of negligence on the part of the folks who came before him.
This will, at least, benefit the IT consulting community which has had a bad run lately, especially here in Texas. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with these folks and think their continuing efforts to fleece ignorant people in Texas government who make bad decisions with taxpayer money is perfectly legit. As long as we keep appointing people like Phil Wilson, Texas frankly deserves to get screwed.