Friday, October 15, 2010

Will ACS Gain Complete Control Of FSSA?

Michael Gargano
It's been no secret since Gov. Mitch Daniels took office that ACS and its lobbyists at Barnes & Thornburg have wielded enormous influence over the state Family and Social Services Administration. Former ACS executive Mitch Roob became Secretary of FSSA just as he had predicted years earlier during the failed attempt to elect another ACS executive, former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith, as governor. Roob made no bones about his intent to privatize the administration of welfare services, and everyone knew that meant a major role for his former employer, ACS. Roob departed the agency at the end of Daniels' first term, having succeeded in delivering one of the largest state contracts in history to IBM and its primary partner, ACS, notwithstanding the costly disaster that ensued, to become the state's top economic development guru for Daniels. Anne Murphy, a veteran manager at the agency, took Roob's place.

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.

18 comments:

Had Enough Indy? said...

OMG - you need a roadmap.

What the hell is ACS? and, why are so many connections running through them????

Did Goldsmith-ites create ACS? Or, just become associated with ACS after Goldsmith had to open his own doors?

kate said...

Let's hope it's not ACS running FSSA. It would create more of a disaster than it is now. It's pathetic to see how people down and out have to struggle to get help with food and have to wait months to hear if they qualify. ACS has not made the situation better, if anything they have made it worse. Let's get one thing straight, ACS is profiting from food stamp recipients. That should tell you something. The stench of this deal is still lingering through out the city. The conflicts of interest are apparent and it surfaces the special interests involved.
Seriously folks let's get real. Public officials are supposed to be trustees of the commonweal, not political buccaneers seeking their own private gain. But sometimes, in what economists call a principal-agent problem, those trustees forsake that obligation and misuse the power delegated to them in ways that advance their personal interests rather than those of the public.
Corruption distorts the allocation of resources toward projects that
can generate illicit payoffs. Besides the undesirable efficiency consequences arising
from this distortion, the effect is likely to aggravate social inequalities, because the poor and powerless suffer, by definition, a comparative disadvantage in securing special favors.
As far as the 200 jobs ACS proposed to bring to the city for seven years that is a manipulation of the people to get this deal passed. Here’s some food for thought about ACS.
Salaries of ACS fall below the average. Their wages actually fall with in the poverty level. ACS employee's are also on a salary freeze and have not received a raise in over three years. They have posted management positions for starting wages of $9.50 hourly.
ACS has a 2.2 company rating nation wide by their employee’s. This is a strong indicator that ACS is not the kind of company the city of Indianapolis and the people of Indianapolis need. Indianapolis needs good, strong, ethical companies like Google, SAS, Qualcomm, and Genentech. Each of those companies has a program that enables employees to voice their ideas, enhances the innovative culture, and ultimately develops ideas that will benefit the business, communities, and employees. Each company supports innovation. They offer stress free environments and offer their employee's livable wages with exceptional perks. AND their annual earnings and profits are less than that of ACS (Affiliated Computer Services).
So, for ACS to "say" they are going to bring 200 jobs with this deal is insulting.
Their current employees’s throughout Indiana live off pennies, food stamps, and are regular patrons of local food pantries. Unless you work for ACS, people have no idea what ACS employee’s endure.

kate said...

The stench of this deal is still lingering through out the city. The conflicts of interest are apparent and it surfaces the special interests involved.
Seriously folks let's get real. Public officials are supposed to be trustees of the commonweal, not political buccaneers seeking their own private gain. But sometimes, in what economists call a principal-agent problem, those trustees forsake that obligation and misuse the power delegated to them in ways that advance their personal interests rather than those of the public.
Corruption distorts the allocation of resources toward projects that
can generate illicit payoffs. Besides the undesirable efficiency consequences arising
from this distortion, the effect is likely to aggravate social inequalities, because the poor and powerless suffer, by definition, a comparative disadvantage in securing special favors.
As far as the 200 jobs ACS proposed to bring to the city for seven years that is a manipulation of the people to get this deal passed. Here’s some food for thought about ACS.
Salaries of ACS fall below the average. Their wages actually fall with in the poverty level. ACS employee's are also on a salary freeze and have not received a raise in over three years. They have posted management positions for starting wages of $9.50 hourly.
ACS has a 2.2 company rating nation wide by their employee’s. This is a strong indicator that ACS is not the kind of company the city of Indianapolis and the people of Indianapolis need. Indianapolis needs good, strong, ethical companies like Google, SAS, Qualcomm, and Genentech. Each of those companies has a program that enables employees to voice their ideas, enhances the innovative culture, and ultimately develops ideas that will benefit the business, communities, and employees. Each company supports innovation. They offer stress free environments and offer their employee's livable wages with exceptional perks. AND their annual earnings and profits are less than that of ACS (Affiliated Computer Services).
So, for ACS to "say" they are going to bring 200 jobs with this deal is insulting.
Their current employees’s throughout Indiana live off pennies, food stamps, and are regular patrons of local food pantries. Unless you work for ACS, people have no idea what ACS employee’s endure.

Advance Indiana said...

You'll get a kick out of this, Pat. As a government contractor, ACS approved the change in 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta's visa status in the US from tourist to student - and later called it a computer storage error. Apparently, ACS has deep CIA ties.

kate said...

Interesting. I found the site to read ACS/911 : http://911review.org/Alex/CIA_deckers_Atta_ACS.html

I know said...

Surprise,surprise, surprise!

If someone in the legal circles would get together withe each and everyone of you reporting all of this mess and fill a bus either to the new US Attorney in Indianapolis or to the Dept of justice in Washington and as a GROUP speak up then the pressure would be on.

You all do excellent work individually but the forum needs a group communicating FACE to FACE and presenting ALL of your fantastic and factual material so the AUTHORITIES have no choice but to act and act in the open.

I tried for six years on my own and the crooked Attorney's in Indianapolis (and they know who they are) made sure the land mines along the way distracted everyone from the real reason for the corruption.

As a group of very educated and well respected local truth tellers you need to collectively pool your resources and call this out as one. Once and for ALL!

Paul K. Ogden said...

"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."

No kidding. How is that not a conflict of interest? Oh, wait, where did Mr. Lundberg, former head of the Disciplinary Commission, end up when he left this year? Barnes & Thornburg.

Regardless, I don't know why the State would hire B&T to represent the State in litigation. They'll end up fleecing the state for inflated legal bills probably as much as the State can get for as much or more than what they'll get in return. Second, their litigation work is often subpar. When you hire B&T, you are generally doing that because you're buying political influence, not getting quality legal representation.

Thanks so much for doing the research on this, Gary. I didn't know about all the connections. It's more than a bit disconcerting.

artfuggins said...

The scandal ridden administation of Mitch Daniels just keeps on giving. When the citizens of Indiana fully understand how much Mitch has screwed us during his time in office, the revolt will start.

dcrutch said...

I'm still digesting, but if there's enough traction here, it could be worse for Daniels than a true jobs count, the earlier FSSA episode, and the IP&L stock deal.

I don't deny corruption is corruption, but the problem is we're nationally (not locally) fixated on only exposing one side of it. ACS would make plenty of splash nationally with Daniels as a Presidential candidate. But, contrast that with how little mass media has cared to investigate full disclosure of President Obama's birth, health, political, and educational records. McCain would have had the investigators-diving-thru-dumpsters routine that Palin got in Alaska.

Without an equitable standard of investigative journalism, the good news is corruption on one side is exposed. The potential bad news is we're left with a corrupt President, only this one also sees "rights" in the Constitution that aren't written there and doesn't seem to be a big fan of free enterprise capitalism.

Citizen Kane said...

Until everyone!!!! realizes that the corruption is endemic and that it doesn't get exposed because everyone else tangentially involved wants to keep their job, their suburban house, three-car garage, five near-luxury vehicles and the summer vacations in Bermuda, there can not and will not be any change. The masses think that one party or the other (or at least certain members thereof) are on their side. Well, they are not, never have been and never will be.

The bulls... being plied by Goldsmith and his cronies was evident when he first ran for mayor, but some people still lap it up no matter how putrid it gets. But that is the result when we allow our public servants to play divide and conquer while each takes turns plundering our cities, states and nation (and the world via a hegemonic empire).

Until we reject the political parties and literally burn their dried elephant and donkey carcasses at the stake, it will only be us getting scorched, burned and buried in ashes.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Geez, Gary, it's worse than I ever thought. B&T used to represent ACS AND IBM on the FSSA privatization deal. Now they represent FSSA against IBM in litigation over the same deal. If I did something like that they'd take away my law license.

dcrutch said...

Agreed on the equitable burning of political carcasses. But, try teaching this non-denominational burning to our "journalists".

kate said...

Very serious business here and the people involved very serious. I think this huge and goes deep. Tread lightly and back up your information in several places, with several people.
Sounds like a conspiracy theory, but look at the magnitude of the corruption. People have disappeared for less. Someone needs to gather this information into one format and send to CNN and as many other people that can investigate this. Keep digging I'm sure there's more out there.

kate said...

Anyone wondering if the man that killed his wife, shot at Barnes & Thornburg, then committed suicide knew more than he posted on his facebook? Here's the excert from his facebook posting:
"The bad lawyers at the Barnes and Thornburg law firm ... do not respect the institution of marriage and corrupted my wife Mary Jane (sex and drugs). Someone (maybe one of their good lawyers) please make them pay. Justice demands the truth out."
This reminds me of the movie, The Devils Advocate. Interesting....

Malachi said...

Here ya go. More ACS reading:
http://www.antifascistencyclopedia.com/allposts/lexington-comair-crash-parts-1-5-the-hand-on-the-data-streamteterboro-incidentdarwins-devolution-cia-terrorismflight-lessonteterboro-the-cia

Advance Indiana said...

Kate said, "Anyone wondering if the man that killed his wife, shot at Barnes & Thornburg, then committed suicide knew more than he posted on his facebook?"

A number of people have wondered if there wasn't a connection between the Frisby murder-suicide and the death of Joe Miller, the world's largest manufacturer of Poppers. Barnes & Thornburg supposedly represented Miller's business interests and an attorney at the firm is rumored to have found Miller dead the same day of the Frisby murder-suicide. Supposedly the government raided his businesses and hauled away his computers. Law enforcement won't say a word about it. Was Miller murdered, suicide or what? They won't even confirm that they raided his business. And the news media seems to have no interest in finding out answers to those questions. It's all very strange.

kate said...

I do find that very interesting. And they all have ties, Ballard, Barnes & Thornburg, Daniels, FSSA, ACS. Just keeps getting deeper.

Bradley said...

ACS also has a deal with the Department of Workforce Development to do its unemployment debit cards (I think the same cards are used for maybe child support in Indiana, although I'm not sure). According to a press release at the time of the deal (http://www.in.gov/dwd/files/NR_08-09-06.pdf), the state would not pay ACS a "set amount" to run the debit card program. Instead, they would earn their profits from merchants of the VISA program and not from the debit card users (although there is an extensive list of charges for users).

Ok, fine and dandy ACS was awarded the contract, but when looking at ALL the connections ACS has with both the state and city of Indianapolis, it's continually disconcerting ACS has such an overwhelming presence. I am unfamiliar with the actual contract itself, how it was awarded, how long it is to last, etc., and this lack of information keeps any ACS deal (in particular with such an inept and ethically-challenged organization as DWD has been during this administration) under further suspicion for a lot of people.

ACS got themselves a heck of a deal with DWD - they didn't have to pay a dime to the state and keeps getting to reap-in profits. I am sure, much like the unemployment modernization deal with Haverstick Consulting, everything is on the up-and-up.