This week, it was learned Murphy began searching for a new job after only a year on the job. Murphy had the unenviable task of playing clean-up for the privatization mess Roob left behind. Daniels convinced Murphy to stay at the helm of FSSA until the state unwound the controversial IBM contract and implemented a hybrid approach to welfare administration. Little noticed in Murphy's ascension to FSSA Secretary at the time was the naming of her chief of staff, Michael Gargano, a strong voice for ACS's interests. Gargano is married to another former ACS executive and former controller during the Goldsmith administration, Ann Lathrop. She, Roob, Goldsmith and another top Goldsmith administration staffer, Skip Stitt, all landed at ACS following the end of Goldsmith's tenure as mayor. With Gargano in a key position but not technically a decision-maker, ACS succeeded in maintaining a contract with FSSA to administer call center activities for welfare administration after IBM had been sacked and sued by the state for damages occasioned by the failed privatization initiative.
The state ethics commission approved this week an employment offer Murphy has received from Community Health Network as its new vice president of government relations. Murphy has not formally accepted the offer but is expected to do so relatively soon. The state ethics commission determined the state's one-year revolving door law would not prevent her from accepting this new job. Murphy, unlike the controversial hiring of the IURC's top lawyer, Scott Storms, by Duke Energy, has not been involved in any contract or regulations pertaining to Community Health Network since she began her job search. Murphy has agreed not to lobby the Daniels administration on behalf of her prospective employer during the one-year cooling off period. The focus is now shifting to who will replace Murphy once she departs.
Michael Gargano is expected to be a leading contender to replace Murphy as FSSA Secretary as her chief of staff. Curiously, he is still listed as the principal for Watertown Group, a consulting firm he founded in 2003 after he left KPMG Consulting, where he met his current wife, Ann Lathrop. Among the clients listed for Watertown Group are his current employer, FSSA and several other state agencies, the City of Indianapolis and, no surprise, ACS. As an example of the work it does, Watertown Group's website has this testimonial:
Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration suffered from a contract process filled with inefficiencies, delays and errors. Watertown was able to improve the contract process, ultimately providing faster, more accurate service to FSSA’s many clients.It is unclear to me how Gargano could have a private consulting firm with all of these clients while he serves in a full-time position at FSSA as chief of staff. Campaign contributions as recently as March, 2008 list Gargano as an executive with Watertown Group. A database of state employees salaries at the Indianapolis Star's website lists Gargano's annual salary at FSSA as $124,195 for the period of 2009-10. It looks like ACS and Barnes & Thornburg, which has a big contract with the agency handling the state's lawsuit against IBM, as well as serving as ACS's lobbyist before the Daniels administration, the General Assembly and the City of Indianapolis, will likely be in the driver's seat if Gargano becomes FSSA's new Secretary. [Paul Ogden has more on that legal contract here.] Not as if that hasn't already been the case though. I'm still trying to figure out how Barnes & Thornburg could represent ACS at the same time it is suing its partner in the FSSA privatization deal on behalf of the state, but the big law firms must know more about conflicts of interest than gumshoe attorneys like myself.
If you connect the dots, which is easy enough to do, you can see why Robert Grand asked Mayor Greg Ballard to appoint Ann Lathrop to the CIB at the beginning of his administration when Grand took charge of the CIB and later asked him to name her as its head after he departed. It's quite an incestuous cesspool of political cronyism Barnes & Thornburg, Grand, Lathrop and ACS have going on, isn't it? Any big surprise that Mayor Ballard would pick ACS to award a 50-year lease for the city's parking meter assets?
UPDATE: Tell me why this shouldn't surprise me? The link to Watertown Group's website went dead this morning. You can still see the cached version here. Lots of State of Indiana users visiting the blog this morning.