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Peter Quinn Resigns

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the the-limelight-is-far-too-hot dept.

Software 129

An anonymous reader writes "Andy Updegrove is reporting on his blog that Peter Quinn, CIO of Massachusetts and focus of the recent media feeding frenzy, has decided to step down. Quinn stressed that his departure does not signal any major changes in policy nor was he forced to resign. He did say that a large part of the decision was made by the Boston Globe's unfounded (and quickly disproven) charges."

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f or p? (-1, Offtopic)

name773 (696972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350043)

fp?

ladies and gentlemen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350048)

once again, open source fails it.

No good deed goes unpunished? (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350051)

I guess one needs a thicker skin...

As any kid in England will tell you... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350370)

In the end, only semolina has a thick skin.

The cost of doing the right thing (5, Insightful)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350056)

The government seems really committed to its legacy information systems. Someone in a position of power finally decides to do something and is penalized for it. This is a perfect example of what's wrong with the government at all levels.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (3, Insightful)

sbyrnes00 (940041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350297)

I find it interesting that this happened in Massachusetts of all places. Granted, in most other states OSS would never have gotten as far, but MA is usually more progressive than to tear down a cost-cutting advocate. To have corporate interests launch such a public attack on a public figure, especially in a place like MA, shows just how little fear and much power they have.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (3, Interesting)

Burz (138833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350331)

Or, in this case, it shows us what's wrong with commercial newsrooms.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (-1, Flamebait)

slashdotnickname (882178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350440)

The government seems really committed to its legacy information systems. Someone in a position of power finally decides to do something and is penalized for it.

Yes, he's a modern day martyr... and no martyr status is complete without a few personal trips with the family on taxpayer money...

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (3, Insightful)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350466)

Well, that's nothing new. However, having worked in government for many years I can tell you it is a rare thing indeed for someone at this level to do anything other than what is needed to get by. What you would consider the easiest and most logical decision imaginable is not made. And it is not made because it is the harder thing to do as the right decision usually is.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351018)

See, you're the reason that modern "media" smear campaigns work so well. You read the sensationalist allegations (lacking the ability to differentiate between "Unproven allegation" and "Guilty as charged") but of course, you never read the corrections or retractions in later editions. These days you don't even need to prove anything; just make unfounded allegations and let the media take care of the charcter assasisnation for you.

Shit, you didn't even read the article summary. Even that mentions the allegations were unfounded. Do you know what that means?

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350750)

" This is a perfect example of what's wrong with the government at all levels."

News networks producing stories that seem to have been inaccurate (from the article) is a problem with government?

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (2, Insightful)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351583)

News networks producing stories that seem to have been inaccurate (from the article) is a problem with government?

Sure. There's always going to be someone there to second guess, be it the media or someone else. It's the reponse to those opinions (usually made without even bothering to understand the issue) that causes the problem. Do you honestly think there wasn't some pressure put on this guy to leave? Pressure comes in many forms. They can say nothing to you at all while simultaneously conveying the fact that you have no future.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (1)

SnapShot (171582) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351432)

I hope this doesn't become another case of the government "revolving door". If he gets a high-paid lobbiest's job at the Open Source Technology Group I will be very dissapointed.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (3, Informative)

plopez (54068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351761)

What's wrong with legacy systems, if they do at least 80% of the required job? Changing large systems is always a risky proposition, espcially when you get 'flavor of the month' hucksters in the door trying to sell you new systems who have no clue as to the convoluted business process the legacy system has evolved to model.

Stick with legacy whenever possible. It is often cheaper and more effective.

Re:The cost of doing the right thing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351905)

With MS, you can't stick with legacy systems. You will be forced to perform an expensive upgrade sooner or later.

The heat of public life (3, Interesting)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350059)

I don't think there's really anything to this story in regards to anything technical. Policy, as he says, will remain relatively unchanged. The main thing is his reaction to being in the public's eye, and his actions under the pressure of unfounded allegations.

The same thing happens to all politicians and anyone in the public's eye. George W Bush sloughs off criticism about his military past. Bill Clinton was able to sidestep allegations of sexual harassment in the Paula Jones case and tackled the issue head on in the Lewinsky witchhunt. Vince Foster blew his brains own brains out.

Public scrutiny really shows the true character and intestinal fortitude of the scrutinized.

Re:The heat of public life (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350095)

I think it would be more accurate to compare what's happening to him as a low key Swift-boating (like what they did to Kerry)

It's important to remember that it doesn't matter how true the story is, what matters is the impression that sticks with readers.

If you tell people a lie, the ones who want to believe it will, probably because it meshes with their preconcieved ideas about the subject. If you tell them later that it was a lie, it doesn't really matter, because their perception of the issue has already been colored.

That's why it is a big deal when a major print outfit cocks up a story. Most readers aren't going to see the correction/retraction/apology unless there is a big fuss over it.

I also don't think it's fair to compare a CEO to Presidents past or present. Most CEOs don't have a PR dept solely dedicated to making them look good, or dedicated to documenting the Christmas antics of their pets for that matter.

Re:The heat of public life (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350310)

"I also don't think it's fair to compare a CEO to Presidents past or present. Most CEOs don't have a PR dept solely dedicated to making them look good, or dedicated to documenting the Christmas antics of their pets for that matter."

Well, CEOs don't have to stick their neck out like a president has to. CEOs can basically work in total privacy as far as the company is concerned. Also, CEOs, or rather the companies they work for, *do* have a PR department that makes the company look good.

Historically, the press (legitimate and otherwise) has been tough on the president and other politicians (they can always count on support from the opposing party), but if they are tough on CEOs, they are communists ( unless the CEO really effed up, like with Enron and so forth).

Re:The heat of public life (2, Informative)

aheath (628369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350380)

I read both stories and I am hard pressed to find anything that I would consider a lie on the part of the Boston Globe.

The headline of the first story is Romney administration reviewing trips made by technology chief [boston.com] .

The headline of the second story is Review backs trips by technology chief [boston.com] with a sub-headline of "No conflict found for aide."

I suspect that the first story would have been clearer if Eric Kriss, Peter J. Quinn's former supervisor, had returned the Globe's phone calls. The second article makes it clear that Peter J. Quinn was acting on bad advice from Eric Kriss.

This seems like a typical case of Massachusetts politics. I'm a bit surprised at the thought that the Globe articles had anything to do with Peter J. Quinn's decision to resign.

Finally, there are no stories about Peter J. Quinn's resignation posted at either the New York Times web site or the Boston Globe web site. It will be interesting to see the Globe coverage when it appears.

Re:The heat of public life (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350514)

The appearance of scandal can be just as damaging as the real thing.

Basically, the reporter didn't get in contact with the guy's boss before writing his article and (falsely) implying that there was something about the trips worth investigating.

Might seem like a tempest-in-a-teapot to us, but to the people in that teapot, it was obviously a big enough issue that the guy quit.

Re:The heat of public life (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14352337)

I'm a bit surprised at the thought that the Globe articles had anything to do with Peter J. Quinn's decision to resign.

I've known more than one politician to resign when they realized what really could happen. He had a front-page article explaining that he is a cheat and an embezzler. He probably also realizes that the attention that he gained with his large change to the policy would make him a target for more such stories. Why would he put up with that? I like my job, but if I had the choice to do my job well or be the target for hatchet jobs, I'd quit. I'm not going to do my job poorly just to stay under the radar, nor do I have to put up with unfounded personal attacks.

This is the reason why we only get Kerry and Bush to choose from. Those with integrity run from politics.

Re:The heat of public life (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350683)

what's happening to him as a low key Swift-boating (like what they did to Kerry)

Do you know of a good site debunking the swift boat stuff?

A friend of mine works for the production company that was hired to do the swift-boat commercials and has consquently been 100% brain-washed into believing them (they were quite liberal with the kool-aid it seems). Now that the election is long over, nobody seems interested in following up on all the hue and cry - but if someone has done a good job (not just another partisan hack job, but from the left instead of the right)I would really appreciate a pointer to it.

Re:The heat of public life (2, Informative)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350915)

Do you know of a good site debunking the swift boat stuff?

JFGI.

  • http://www.factcheck.org/article231.html
  • http://mediamatters.org/items/200408050007
  • http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Swift _Boat_Veterans_for_Truth
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swift_Vets_and_POWs _for_Truth

Though IMO the biggest torpedo that sank the Swift Vets claims came from the New York Times.

The New York Times reported on August 5, the Kerry campaign noted that "none of the men had actually served on the Swift boats that Mr. Kerry commanded."

Though none of that matters. Kerry was made out to be a coward and a liar - his three Purple Hearts amounted to nothing after the character assassination - and he lost votes as a result. The Republican funding of the group was shameful yet I bet you won't see anything happen about that either.

Re:The heat of public life (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351266)

Though IMO the biggest torpedo that sank the Swift Vets claims came from the New York Times.
The New York Times reported on August 5, the Kerry campaign noted that "none of the men had actually served on the Swift boats that Mr. Kerry commanded."


From the same article:
Adm. Roy F. Hoffman, who is retired and who says in the advertisement, "John Kerry has not been honest," acknowledged that the men in the advertisement did not serve on Mr. Kerry's boat, but he said their time in parallel boats on coordinated missions, or as Mr. Kerry's superiors, made them valid commentators on his record. The group provided station managers with a 13-page memorandum, backed up by more than 60 pages of sworn statements, book excerpts and military records.

"We were on the same operations, we were operating within 25-50 yards of him all the time, and for them to suggest we don't know John Kerry is pure old bull," Mr. Hoffman said. "He has made this the centerpiece of this campaign, and we just don't think he's qualified to be the commander in chief of the armed forces. We have every right to be heard."

Re:The heat of public life (4, Insightful)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351375)

From the same article: Adm. Roy F. Hoffman, who is retired and who says in the advertisement, "John Kerry has not been honest,"

Feel free to quote Hoffman all you like because the man has no credibility.

HOFFMANN: Well, I can tell you that I did not know Kerry personally. I didn't ride the boat with him.

But this highlights yet another tactic of the smear campaigns that are making a mockery of democracy in America. Start with an outlandish and dishonorable claim, such as claiming that Kerry's three Purple Hearts and Bronze medal were undeserved. Wait until the election time rather than disputing their worth in the decades since they were awarded. Then bury the counterclaims in trivia and minutiae that doesn't even have to be true; the barrage of lies and half-truths simply has to be so overwhelming that it overwhelms the common man so they tune out before the protests can be heard. The barrage of nonsense from Hoffman is simply part of this carpet-bombing media tactic.

I'm not American and I couldn't give two hoots about Kerry but I'm disgusted with the way you partisan idiots are destroying your democracy. You are turning democracy into a childish football match, with teams and cheerleaders and points to be scored. Waiting several decades before calling somebody's war record into dispute is pathetic. It is a grave dishonour to somebody who risked their life to serve your country. Everybody who defends these SBV numbskulls should be ashamed and appalled at what you've turned your political system into. Between the partisan hackery and the voting scandals your democratic process is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the world.

Pay attention to people like Jon Stewart and Stop Hurting America. Your country deserves far better than you partisan idiots are providing.

Re:The heat of public life (1)

tivoKlr (659818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351441)

Bravo. Wish more Americans could see how ridiculous our election smear process is...

Pisses me off.

I voted for dubya the 1st go around, so I'm not just speaking from my liberal pulpit either.

Re:The heat of public life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351045)

>Do you know of a good site debunking the swift boat stuff?

    How about this first person account in Wall Street Journal from the man whose life John Kerry saved?
JIM RASSMANN: Shame on the Swift Boat Veterans for Bush: John Kerry saved my life. Now his heroism is being questioned. http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.ht ml?id=110005460 [opinionjournal.com]

His brain's own brains... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350169)

blew his brain's own brains out.

Imagine my embarrassment (1)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350190)

I've stuck my foot's own foot in my mouth's own mouth.

Re:The heat of public life (1)

mookie da wookie (919403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350248)

Quit talkin bad bout Bush! He's a real nice guy who likes Jesus a lot. Why else wud he give monie t o teh cherches? He will bomb u-r house and lissen to your teliphone if your not carful.

Re:The heat of public life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351373)

Vince Foster blew his brains own brains out.

blew his brains out own brains out
own brains out
own brains out
blew his brains out own brains out
blew his own brains out

Nasty Photos (3, Funny)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350060)

I'm suspecting that MicroSoft got some photos of this guy cavorting in a bathtub filled with mayonaise and a few attractive penguin prostitutes.

A few phone calls the guy resigned. Who wouldn't?

I doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350103)

I doubt Microsoft had a lot (if anything) to do with this. Having worked in government organizations in the past, it is generally not a good idea to attempt activism, technology or otherwise, in a unilateral fashion. This is exactly what many in the government of Massachusetts are claiming Peter Quinn attempted.

Open standards are a good idea, but this guy should have worked the political aspects of his campaign for ODF a lot more carefully. He may have been long on vision, but he was short on political acumen.

Re:I doubt it (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350175)

Actually, MS is VERY conencted with all this. As soon as the choice was made to go with ODF, MS was hitting all the politicians about this. And who do the pols hit? The media. They will feed them a line of crap. After all, the globe took something and blew it way out. Of course, nobody is asking the question of how did they get ahold of it in the first place? That was not public knowledge. It was obviously an inside trip job against quinn.

Oh, this has MS ALL over it.

Activism is for everyone. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350505)

Are we not to attribute the same behavior to those promoting the exclusive use of Microsoft's file formats? Your attempt at discouraging participation by calling it "activism" and "unilateral" suggests that you simply disagree with the recommended change in behavior to adopt open standards (OpenDocument being one of them) for Massachusetts state-issued work.

Re:Nasty Photos (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350263)

They have attractive penguin prostitutes now? Awesome! Come on, hook me up, dude.

Re:Nasty Photos (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350906)

They're called nuns. And they're not cheap.

What's up with the Boston Globe? (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350062)

The Boston Globe's having a bad run lately. First that false story [fark.com] about Homeland Security checking up on library borrowing habits, and now this BS. If anyone should be gone, it's their editor.

Re:What's up with the Boston Globe? (2, Informative)

andreMA (643885) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350167)

The Quinn story actually came first, but yeah. The Boston Globe and the New York Times share the same owner, incidentally...

Re:What's up with the Boston Globe? (1, Troll)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350225)

How many times this year has the NYT had to print retractions? Or refused to, after stories were proved to be false? Close to ten and the year isn't over. Not to mention reporters fired for phoney stories. That whole chain of papers is only good for fish wrap or fireplace starter now, what a fall from where they used to be. It's amazing what can happen when opinion takes precedence over facts. One of these days they might get smart enough to take the golf shoes off before stepping on their dicks.

Re:What's up with the Boston Globe? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350363)

For the record the Boston Globe and NYT also share another fascinating habit: faking subscriber numbers. If you cancel your subscription to either paper you're permanently recorded as "on vacation" and therefore included in their readership numbers (to help gain ad revenue). I know this because I deliver 'em (hence AC, just in case...) Sounds ethical eh?

Re:What's up with the Boston Globe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350675)

By owner you mean State Department?

bought by the NY Times (no, really) (4, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350280)

What's up with the Boston Globe?

In a move that didn't sit well with many Boston residents, The Globe was bought by the NY Times. Editorial standards, even just on a basic proof-reading level, seem to have gone nowhere but down ever since.

Really a shame, because the Globe's Spotlight Team was (and still is, to some degree) an excellent group; they do in-depth investigative journalism, perhaps comparable in some ways to PBS's Frontline.

Also, if you're in the Boston area and interested in commentary on news stories of the day, tune in @7for Greater Boston [greaterboston.tv] , with Emily Rooney on WGBH (Channel 2), with repeats on 44, I think. The "Beat The Press" Friday episode is especially good- a panel of journalists talk about the news media's behavior over the last week. John Carroll(sp?) is a master at amusing introductions. For their end of the year episode (Dec 23, 2005) he did a complete synopsys of the White House/CIA agent leak in the style of "Hollywood Squares", which was hysterical...and very effective. It's currently watchable in quicktime format....look on the left side of the homepage for the link.

Re:bought by the NY Times (no, really) (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351497)

The Globe was bought by the NY Times. Editorial standards, even just on a basic proof-reading level, seem to have gone nowhere but down ever since.

Why am I not surprised? [woz.org]

Article was no accident (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 8 years ago | (#14352391)

Well, it wouldn't be the first time that a buyout has proved detrimental to a company's practices and reputation. However, I don't think there can be any serious doubt that this article was instigated by Microsoft, considering the background to the story.

Re:Article was no accident (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14352475)

Look at schon's comment above yours, there is a good connection there

Let them have taco! (1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350391)

I think that taco could do better than those globe guys, and that says a lot.

Sounds like... (3, Interesting)

nettdata (88196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350063)

Sounds like someone is getting ready for a nice, big lawsuit.

"They posted all this crap about me, it wasn't true, I had to quit, I couldn't find a job, and by the time I could, I was out of touch and not hireable... gimme $8 million".

Re:Sounds like... (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350565)

After reading http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200512271 13652154 [groklaw.net]

I [PJ] just interviewed Quinn's prior boss, Eric Kriss, and here's what he tells me, although note that it's not an official statement, since Kriss is no longer with the administration.

Kriss:

I've heard that Peter Quinn resigned as the CIO of Massachusetts effective Jan 9, 2006. I met with Peter briefly on December 21, prior to his decision, and he indicated to me he was extremely uncomfortable with the personal attention surrounding the open format controversy. Peter is an IT professional who is not accustomed to the rough-and-tumble world of politics. He found the last few months to be very distasteful, especially the Boston Globe article that seemed to imply some sort of improper influence related to his conference travel. He was completely cleared after an internal administrative review.
As far as I know, Peter was not forced out over policy differences with senior administration officials.
He didn't have to quit.

It's unfortunate he got mistreated this way. The only people he could possibly sue are at the newspaper and they're safe unless he can prove that article was written with malicious intent.

Re:Sounds like... (2, Insightful)

nettdata (88196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350912)

That's exactly what I was inferring.

It's depressing and somewhat pathetic that the political environment breeds the kind of shoddy, "investigative" journalism that seems to be running rampant, all in the hopes of gaining market share.

I really feel for this guy and the situation he was thrown into, and I hope he gives the "journalist" a nice swift kick in the sack.... financially speaking, of course.

Re:Sounds like... (1)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 8 years ago | (#14352086)

It is the newspaper's job to NOT present opinion mixed with fact - then the opinion gets taken as fact

Being held in an MS prison camp? (1)

slomr2 (663204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350064)

1st thought I had after reading that he wasn't forced out was him next being forced denounce OpenFormats on camera by an unseen gunman. ;)

The Original Boston Globe Article (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350065)

Romney administration reviewing trips made by technology chief

By Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff | November 26, 2005


The Romney administration has launched a review of several out-of-state trips that its top technology officer took to conferences sponsored in part by companies who stand to benefit from a change in computer software used by the state.

Peter J. Quinn, director of the state's Informational Technology Division and its chief information officer, has traveled to 12 out-of-state conferences in the last two years, visiting Brazil, Ottawa, San Francisco, Japan, Puerto Rico, and other locations, records show. Most of the conferences were sponsored by technology and information companies.

Romney administration officials are investigating whether Quinn violated travel procedures by not obtaining written authorization for six of the trips -- to Brazil, Ottawa, San Francisco, and other cities -- since September 2004. For six other trips, he received written approval from his supervisor.

The state launched its inquiry after the Globe began asking questions about the trips earlier this week; it is being conducted by Thomas H. Trimarco, the head of Administration and Finance. Two Romney administration officials, who asked not to be identified because the inquiry was ongoing, said Trimarco will seek to determine why Quinn did not obtain written authorization for the travel and whether having trips paid for by conference sponsors would have violated the state's conflict-of-interest law.

On most of the trips, Quinn said, his travel and other expenses were paid for by the sponsors of the conferences. On two of the trips -- to Tucson and Washington, D.C. -- Quinn paid his own way, according to state records and an interview with Quinn.

Eric Fehrnstrom, director of communications for Romney, said Wednesday that ''we have discovered there is not a complete record for all of Mr. Quinn's travels, and we are reviewing the matter," referring to a state requirement that employees obtain authorization for travel. State rules also require employees to provide a detailed estimate of the cost of travel sponsored by private firms and other outside groups.

Quinn was appointed in September 2002, before Romney won election. In an e-mail responding to questions from the Globe, Quinn said that former administration and finance secretary Eric Kriss had told him that he did not have to receive written authorization for his 2005 travel. He said Kriss had given him verbal approvals for the trips. Most of the trips for which he did not get authorization occurred this year.

Kriss, who left state government in September, did not return phone messages left at his home yesterday and Wednesday.

Quinn is at the center of a controversial decision to require all documents produced by the state's executive branch to be stored in a new, universal format, called Open Document, that would work with many brands of software and is less likely to become obsolete. The change, closely watched in the information technology business, would require modifications to software running on thousands of state computers and is widely seen as a challenge to Microsoft Corp., which makes the Microsoft Office software used to generate documents.

In the interview, Quinn said that he was in demand at the conferences because of the state's initiative to move toward ''open standards" for its computer systems, which would be able to read or use documents that are written with programs other than Office.

Quinn said he sought the legal advice of Linda M. Hamel, the lawyer for the Informational Technology Division, on the propriety of his appearing at a conference in which his travel and room were being paid for by the sponsors of the conference. He declined to provide the specifics of which trips he discussed with her or the advice she gave him.

But in general, Quinn said, he sought Hamel's opinion ''if I thought there might be an issue."

Hamel confirmed that she and Quinn had discussed the trips, but said: ''I don't know if he brought every trip to my attention."

Hamel added that she did not know if state employees were required to ''pierce the veil" of who was sponsoring such conferences to make certain that companies doing business with the Commonwealth were not trying to curry favor with state policy makers by paying their way to such meetings.

Yet, the state administration and finance travel procedures, in place since the mid-1990s, mandate that whenever officials have their travel paid for by someone other than the Commonwealth or themselves they provide a ''detailed estimate" of the cost of the trip plus a breakdown of how much is being paid for by the private parties and the relationships between the private parties and the state.

Quinn filed travel authorization forms with Kriss for six trips he took in 2004. He provided the name of the conferences he was attending, but only the total amount of money that the trip cost on three of them: $1,151 paid for by the World Software and Technology Convention in Japan, $543 he spent to attend the Center for Digital Government conference in Tucson, and $221.70 he spent to speak at a conference in Chicago. On the form seeking approval to travel to Puerto Rico for five days in May 2004, to speak at an ''Open Source Congress," he did not list how much the trip was expected to cost and only that the expenses were paid for by the company, Altamente, which is based in Puerto Rico.

Even though a galaxy of computer companies are listed as sponsors of many of the conferences, Quinn did not list any of them on his authorization forms or the business relationships any of them have with the Commonwealth.

Quinn said he gained significant expertise for the state by attending the conferences, and has turned down other invitations because he felt he would not learn from the gatherings. On numerous occasions, he said, he spent money out of his own pocket to pay for some expenses and took late-night flights to minimize the time he spent out of office.

''There has been a great deal of interest, both in the government sector and the private sector, in the adoption of Open Standards by Massachusetts," Quinn said in an e-mail. ''The interest is focused on the why we adopted standards and what we learned throughout our journey. As a result, I have found myself in demand as a conference speaker. Each interaction is an opportunity for me to continue my learning."

NOTE: This story was proven wrong! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350342)

As PJ of Groklaw reported (and as the Boston Globe *retracted*)--Peter Quinn DID have verbal authorization for those trips and was cleared of all wrongdoing.

I realize you didn't say otherwise, but I just thought it best to point that out, prominently, wherever this information is mentioned :)

After all, the first Boston Globe article was front page news. The retraction was burried deep in the middle of a section not many would see :-/

Re:NOTE: This story was proven wrong! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350454)

Also, as PJ pointed out, the accusation that Sun Microsystem provided Quinn with the "use" of underage boys at those conferences is completely and utterly false.

The power of the Unfounded Charge (tm) (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350066)

Now the accusations don't even need to stick. Simply whine enough and you will get your way and the other guy will cave. As this pattern is repeated over and over again the spine will become obsolete.

Re:The power of the Unfounded Charge (tm) (2, Interesting)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350090)

Resigning in/after a scandal makes one look guilty, no?

Re:The power of the Unfounded Charge (tm) (1)

Photon Ghoul (14932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350194)

No

Re:The power of the Unfounded Charge (tm) (1)

LearnToSpell (694184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350343)

No.

Re:The power of the Unfounded Charge (tm) (4, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350361)

Resigning in/after a scandal makes one look guilty, no?

Maybe; maybe not. In this case, the "scandal" was the charge of irregularities in his expenses for trips related to ODF adoption. A charge that was later shown to be false. But that doesn't matter. After the Boston Globe printed the story, he was branded by them as "guilty", despite their lame retraction. He could no longer be an effective proponent of the move to ODF because, thanks to the Globe, he would be busy ducking questions from reporter scrums about his trips, instead of staying on message about the benefits of moving to ODF.

Frankly, this whole thing really sucks. However, I think he did the right thing by stepping down, so that the issue would go back to ODF and not his trips.

If you can't take the heat... (3, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350071)

Get out of the Kitchen.

As the old saying goes. Looks like he took it to heart. Smart too, it's never good to let the cult of personality interfere with policy. While I'm sad to see him go, I realize why he did it, and understand the need to step aside so the argument isn't about him. I'm sure he will be working from the sidelines as best he can. I wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors.

Re:If you can't take the heat... (1, Insightful)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350285)

Interesting comment. We'll likely never fully understand all the reasons why he resigned, but if his intentions are to ensure that attention remains focused on the policy and facts at hand then he has just dealt a powerful blow to his adversaries.

With the dirty tricks that certain companies will use to pay off or bully decision makers his resignation seems to take away their second tactic which seems to have been employed because the first was not an option. So now with Quinn out of the picture and a super luminance spot light on the issue at hand any shenanigans are likely to cast a very visible shadow.

Its probably time now for the scumbags to slink away before they are exposed. Hopefully time will have them exposed anyway.

Re:If you can't take the heat... (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350468)

> While I'm sad to see him go, I realize why he did it, and understand the need to step aside
> so the argument isn't about him.

Yea, good he resigned so that everyone else will realize that not buying Microsoft is a career limiting decision. Sure will inspire a whole new batch of martyrs to leap forth and do battle with the forces of darkness.

Yes, for the slashbots without much clue, that was sarcasm.

New Slashdot FAQ: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350079)

From the Subscription [slashdot.org] FAQ:

Do I have to subscribe?

Of course not. Subscriptions are voluntary. You can even view tomorrow's Slashdot stories right now at OSNews [osnews.com] . Want Karma? Find the good comments from the OSNews link, and paste them here at Slashdot when the story arrives.

Re:New Slashdot FAQ: (1, Redundant)

InfiniteWisdom (530090) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350195)

There are hundreds of other technology sites out there. Sometimes Slashdot will link to a story first, sometimes last. Often it will be duped enough that it's first AND last.

OT:Re:New Slashdot FAQ: (0, Offtopic)

coolGuyZak (844482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350207)

What is with you people? We understand that OS News exists. Yes, Digg is around as well. We also know the news here is usually somewhat dated (or maybe just timed). We *obviously* don't care.

So please, STFU.

Re:OT:Re:New Slashdot FAQ: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350365)

Wow. For a guy who has "cool" right in his username, you sure are an inflamed pussy.

In the world of politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350126)

Favors always come with lies.

Come all without, come all within, (1)

dayhox (696422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350131)

You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn - Bob Dylan

Re:Come all without, come all within, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350419)

Manfred Mann not Bob Dylan

  douche

Re:Come all without, come all within, (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350483)

Dylan [bobdylan.com]

fscking ignorant fool...

Re:Come all without, come all within, (1)

dayhox (696422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351661)

Nice fact checking genius - must work for the Globe

CIO eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350139)

Peter Quinn, CIO of Massachusetts

I never knew Massachusetts was a commercial entity...

Re:CIO eh? (3, Interesting)

Urusai (865560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350256)

Sure, it's a non-profit entity whose function is to assist corporations in centralizing wealth by direct tax-funded grants and legislation altering market conditions to exclude competition. This particular form of corporation is called a "government".

Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350147)

Good. An appointed official should not be deciding the only file format that citizens of the state are allowed to use when dealing with the state. The state should use whatever software the majority of their citizens use, and not try and force them to use something else.

Massachusetts has far greater problems to deal with than preventing the people of the state from using standard software to deal with the government, like their Big Dig project that's proven to be misconstructed and is slowly breaking. (That's right, over $14.6 billion of FEDERAL TAX MONEY - which means if you're a US citizen, you helped them move a highway underground into tunnels - which leak. Makes that Alaskan "bridge to nowhere" seem like small potatoes; if it were a Massachusetts senator, that would have been a tunnel to nowhere.)

Hopefully now, Massachusetts will stop wasting money on silly projects and concentrate on fixing their broken state. (Although given their recent assault on the sanctity of marriage, they'd probably make things worse.) File formats should be the least of their concerns.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350436)

Good. An appointed official should not be deciding the only file format that citizens of the state are allowed to use when dealing with the state. The state should use whatever software the majority of their citizens use, and not try and force them to use something else. Public officials do that all the time when they choose Microsoft format. I can't acces the local county government website because it only supports IE.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350469)

IE is not a file format.

Good (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350158)

I think it's obvious by now that this guy was doing nothing but pursue his own personal agenda, the investigations into his life proved it. I'm glad he has stepped down before he started doing any more damage.

Really should take some time off.. (2, Interesting)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350163)

He should just take some leave, then come back recharged and ready to weather the bulls!th from the media. He's not really doing himself a favour in resigning.

Trust the man on the spot. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351811)

He's not really doing himself a favour in resigning.

Like M$ does not have the resources to buy more bullshit?

I think he needs to spend some time on revenge. Microsoft should be punished for this and hopefully will be. There's a clear path between the "story" and it's source and very clear malicious intent. It's called slander and whoever did it should pay. When it hit a paper, it became libel and he will be tarred with it forever.

He should just take some leave, then come back recharged and ready to weather the bulls!th from the media.

No, he's getting away because the tarring stuck. He thinks that people's false perception of his wrongdoing is creating an impediment to his policy and effectiveness in general. We have to trust the man on the spot for that call.

For all we know, he's got a really good follow up who won't be afraid of kicking M$ off every state owned desktop. Now that would be some good IT policy.

Story? (4, Funny)

SoyMilkCowz (896072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350187)

I don't see how this is news, because according to http://www.consortiuminfo.org/newsblog/blog.php?ID =1863 [consortiuminfo.org] , he retired last January. has resigned, effective January 9, 2005.

Probably a typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350206)

People frequently get the year wrong just at the end of a calendar year. The date in question is probably 1/9/2006.

Re:Probably a typo (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350258)

I don't think htat is a typi so much as a mistakee.

Re:Story? (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14352331)

I don't see how this is news, because according to http://www.consortiuminfo.org/newsblog/blog.php?ID [consortiuminfo.org] =1863, he retired last January. has resigned, effective January 9, 2005.

You must be new here. Check out the bluetooth story a couple of days ago.

Yawn! (0, Offtopic)

exoir (826214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350204)

(Yawn!) who cares!?

Quinn was a good civil servant (4, Insightful)

maggard (5579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350224)

The Boston Globe article implying Peter Quinn acted improperly, and Governor Romney's investigation into such, was a blatantly paid-for political hatchet job. The parties involved, including Mitt Romney and Boston Globe staff reporter Stephen Kurkjian, should be held responsable for this loss of valuable employee.

Sharing their disgrace should be Fox News reporter James Prendergast for reprinting alarmist, baseless, claims by Microsoft front organization "Americans for Technology Leadership" about OpenDocument, further speading disinformation on the whole topic.

What Peter Quinn and others in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Information Technology was trying to do was set a sane long-term document strategy for a state government whose records include the oldest constitution in the world (predates the US Constitution.)

If we can't read documents that were generated by proprietary formats only a few years old how can we manage laws, deeds, and other material looking forward decades and centuries? At least with OpenDocument there will be a published freely re-implementable file format that can be widely used as time goes on.

As to MS claiming their formats are "open" they've sung that song over and over yet each time it has proven to be untrue as critical portions of their formats are consistently undocumented or legally encumbered. Heck they can't even reliably read back their own material from products a generation or two prior.

MS's real fear is that by breaking the cycle of locked-in file formats they'll have to compete on a level playing field with alternative products. The truth is it would take them a few days to come up with an OpenDocument converter, the same as they've done for dozens of competing formats.

Whoever hires Peter Quinn will be getting a fellow with considerable professional integrity. Whether his replacement shows the same level of honesty and dedication is a serious concern, particularly considering Governor (& future Presidential candidate) Mitt Romney's willingness to whore out critical appointments in return for special-interest campaign contributions.

I wonder how MS will be funneling the money this time? Will they be washing it through Republican stronghold Staples Corporation or through some other ersatz 'grass roots' astro-turfing front like Americans for Technology Leadership?

Rock and a hard place (1)

labcfo (888658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351475)

Romney and his administration didn't have a choice but investigate. The Nov. article says the Globe went to the administration and basically said, we've got evidence that this guy broke the rules. They could do two things - say we won't investigate it, which the Globe spins into a story about the future Presidential candidate protecting his own and playing political games, or put their high ranking finance person on the review, at which point the Globe says that Romney is investigating Quinn.

The Globe went after the story and played both angles - they were going to get a story either way. My guess is they could pick anyone in government and do the same thing. They just "happened" to chose Quinn.

Anyone know how much of the NY Times Microsoft owns?

Damn it! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350265)

fuck you! fuck you! fuck you!

I just have to troll

Metal up your ass, yank

ATTENTION ALL CITIBANK MEMBERS-THIS IS NOT A TROLL (0, Offtopic)

GET THE FACTS! (850779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350291)

I found this e-mail to Citibank members being circulated around the Internet.

This post is NOT a troll. DO NOT MOD THIS POST DOWN!!!

Dear Citibank-Online Mebmers,

This message was sentt by the Online-Citibank sevrer to veerify your
email
addres. You must cemoplte this porsces by clicking on the link
below and enteering in the small window your Citi-bank Debit
Card Number and Card Pin that you use on local Atm Machine.
This is done for your pcotertion -1- because some of our memmbers no
lgoenr have acecss to their email adsdseers and we must verify it.

To veerify your e-mail adderss and access your bank account, clik on
the link beloow. If ntohing hapenps when you clik on the link -c copie
and paste the link into the adderss bar of your window.

but he's my hero (1)

davygrvy (868500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350577)

This just can't be?! The BS about him in the news is just the reason for him to stay.

SCALE to host ODF Workshop for .gov (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350596)

SCALE 4x [socallinuxexpo.org] has invited all .gov IT staff in California at both the state and local levels to attend their ODF Workshop [socallinuxexpo.org] . The workshop is being produced in conjunction with the OpenDocument Fellowship.

Keep up the heat (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14350926)

The more that sick and ugly shenanigans are brought to light, the greater the likelihood of a peaceful revolution at the ballot box.
The US political system needs an enema at pretty much all levels.
Guys like this CIO, who are trying to do the Right Thing, and meeting evil at every turn, deserve to be write-ins on ballots.

Re:Keep up the heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351028)

Nothing is ever going to change until we get private money out of politics. Ever.

The problem isn't our politicians, the problem is us. Until we realize that these politicians are the product of our current system rather than some strange anomaly, we will be doomed to suffer the consequences. These people aren't aliens that landed here from some mysterious planet of lies. They are the products of our society - our schools and our churches. It is our fault that we maintain a system that encourages society's morally and ethically challenged and discourages honesty and integrity.

Re:Keep up the heat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351203)

I agree with your point, but, short of a full Marxist, screw-your-private-property revolution, how will you get there?

Given that the problems are intrinsic to human nature, what can we do?

Greater transparency seems to be the least worst direction. If there is a non-partisan accounting entity through which all lobbying moneys must go, prior to transfer to any political party, that might be a way to make the money-trails more readily apparent.

However, given a system, there will be a work-around. What we really need is galvanized public opinion, so that miscreants are not re-elected, and manure spreaders like the Boston Globe find advertisers and subscribers kicking them to the curb.

It's so sad to hear this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14350984)

I'd like to thank the good, brave man for all his effords - and thank the politicians for killing this! And i'd like to thank Micro$oft and their allies to show us "the truth" - politics is bad, it kills the laughter (Louis De Funès) The good thing is that we're thinking about how to archive data... The bad thing is that microsoft is pushing pseudo-patented standards into the market, with their powerfull marketting and lobbing machine, it'll work out fine for them & we'll get warped back into the dark medieval ages of a digital golden cage, where we may pay, pay, pay, pay, pay just to be able to read our data, if ms-drm permits us to read our data. Of course if you cannot access your data, you can allways try to give a call to the CIA & NSA. They have the key to your data, and they'll open it for you (as long as there are terrorist messages hidden in the content).

good! (-1, Troll)

slashk (519084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351148)

since when should 1 potential loon have the ability to change the direction of an entire state's IT strategy and budget.
the fact that he didn't forsee the accessibility issue is a strong indication that he didn't think this thing through.
furthermore, his statement that he wants to transform the state's IT dept from a 'tower of babel to a united nations' is a clear indication that this guy is off base.
everyone knows the UN is a corrupt, socialist organization whose primary goal is its own survival. in any case - this guy is no hero - sorry ODF fan boys the biggest change i expect from this whole situation is not a conversion to ODF, but changes in policy for state IT management. states will most likely put checks and balances into place to prevent slapshot decisions such as peter quinn's.

please mark parent as TROLL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14351214)

The UN a corrupt socialist organisation? By those standards The USA has already been converted into a neofascist state.

Re:please mark parent as TROLL! (1)

slashk (519084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14351371)

troll? not!

more like disenting opinion.

Open Office is inferior, unproven tech, with a list of failed large scale implementations.
ODF is a tool used by MS competitors to try to win marketshare in the guise of OSS.
And yeah, the UN is an aweful model for government IT - IMHO.

Why is ODF "in the guise of OSS?" (2, Interesting)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14352176)


>>ODF is a tool used by MS competitors to try to win marketshare>in the guise of OSS

The guise? Why is ODF only the guise of OSS, and not the real thing?

Atlas Shrugged (0)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 8 years ago | (#14352191)

First a Russian minister resigned abruptly a day or two ago, saying the country is no longer free...and now this guy resigns? Is anyone else reminded of Atlas Shrugged?
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