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Sat Apr 13, 2013, 09:16 AM

How ousted Sup. of Public Instruction Bennett stuck Indiana with $1.7 million of unwanted gadgets

Just three months before voters went to the polls to oust Tony Bennett as Superintendent of Public Instruction, Bennett bought $1.7 million of gadgets for his office including $80,000 of high definition touchscreen video conferencing equipment which doesn't work with the department's current video conferencing equipment, over a quarter million dollars of installation and training services, and three "black out" window blinds costing $1,500. There was so much equipment purchased that it's still being delivered! The cost alone could have paid the salaries and benefits of 24 teachers at a time when public school budgets were being slashed all over the state. Good luck Florida. You've got the crook now.

The three pitch-black blinds weren’t part of the original purchase; they cost an extra $4,500 collectively and cover a trio of modest-sized windows in the education department’s fifth-floor Downtown office. Custom made, the blinds are needed to accommodate the CISCO TelePresence TX 9000, a video conferencing system made up of three 65-inch screens that works properly only when all natural light is blocked out. The three-screen system cost the state $134,550 -- or, put another way, $11,000 more than the median value of a home in Indiana.

“This has put us between a rock and a hard place,” Galvin said, noting that it is too late to cancel the order but that using the equipment will cost taxpayers another $152,000 in annual software licensing fees. “Really, we’d prefer to not even have this stuff.”

Adding to the political drama, Bennett’s office signed the contract to buy the equipment about 18 months after his one-time chief of staff, Todd Huston, took a job as an education consultant and business development manager at CISCO. Huston, now a state lawmaker representing a Fishers-based district, continued to serve as a close political and policy adviser to Bennett while working for CISCO. In a recent interview, he said he acted as a facilitator between CISCO and Bennett’s office during the deal, but added that he earned no commission from it.

Huston defended the deal, saying it would ultimately help with professional development and allow what are essentially face-to-face meetings that would not require educators and others to drive to Indianapolis from far-flung regions of the state. Those individuals, Huston said, could travel to one of the nine regional service centers for a teleconference if the equipment is finally installed. He said the early installation hiccups will be worked out and added that the rumblings coming from the Ritz administration are a signal that “they don’t understand their job.”

http://www.indystar.com/article/20130412/NEWS08/304120048/Matthew-Tully-What-Glenda-Ritz-got-from-Tony-Bennett-1-7-million-boondoggle

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Reply How ousted Sup. of Public Instruction Bennett stuck Indiana with $1.7 million of unwanted gadgets (Original post)
unrepentant progress Apr 2013 OP
Vinnie From Indy Apr 2013 #1
unrepentant progress Apr 2013 #2
AngryOldDem Apr 2013 #4
MrYikes Apr 2013 #3

Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 09:20 AM

1. Why not just use Skype?

eom

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Response to Vinnie From Indy (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 09:25 AM

2. That's what I was thinking.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Reply #2)

Sun Apr 14, 2013, 07:28 AM

4. That's what Ritz is asking.

Tony Bennett is a microcosm of all that is wrong with Indiana state government right now. Really glad he's gone.

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Response to unrepentant progress (Original post)

Sat Apr 13, 2013, 09:49 AM

3. The republicans work hard to create a government that is designed to fail. nt

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