I read in the Melrose Weekly News on page 6 an article that Dolan wants to propose buying a purported interactive software that Melrose citizens can use to understand how their tax money is being spent. Dolan is quoted as saying “ I was introduced to the other award winning entry from Arlington called [sic] The Virtual Budget.”
Uhmmmm…Rob….before you go before the alderman you might want to know the correct name of the software as it is “Visual Budget” not “Virtual”. Jeeze!
We’ve spent millions of dollars on software over the years at the request of the Mayor. Smartboards that don’t teach, teachers that don’t use them, don’t know how to use them or opt not to use them. What about the lack of training to use these Smartboards or the sheer number of them that need hardware and software upgrades? Let’s not forget about the Munis sotware that was purchase years ago and was never used by our former business manager because he didn’t know how to use it and minimal teaching support was purchased? And finally the thousands of dollars squandered on Aspen that the teachers refuse to use or don’t know how to use.
I took a test drive of the functionality of this software and it is flat. It is not interactive, has only three tabs to look at “Revenues” “Expenses Funds” and “Reserves” and each tab provides no more transparency than a pie chart. There’s more information one can get from an online mortgage calculator than what the Mayor would have you believe this new gadget of his provides. There’s no transparency in its functionality. No ability to see line items, revolving accounts or the ability to drill down through any data because there is no data to look at!
InVolution Studios is an Arlington based company that does indeed have vision and provides outstanding solutions for some of the largest companies in the world. Their applications in the healthcare industry and marketing optimizations for companies like 3M and Oracle are nothing short of revolutionary. However, to apply this application for municipal use is just window dressing and a political tool for the Massachusetts Municipal Association to fob off on mayors and town mangers (like Rob) who would tout an otherwise laudable and important application for political gain.
Rob…if you are truly invested in providing our “engaged citizenry [sic] that allows us to have mature conversations about what we collectively value as a community” then perhaps consider not charging hundreds of dollars to members of the public seeking public information through FIOA requests? I know you found that soooo funny when you attempted to charge me thousands of dollars for my public information requests. How about levelling with the community on your blatant quid pro quo deal giving health insurance benefits to the alderman in exchange for voting in favour of your 26 percent pay raise? And while you’re at it eliminate the 10 year city service requirement of life time health insurance benefits.
People don’t need a graph or a pie chart to tell them what they already know comes out of their wallets.
I say “No” to an override for our underperforming schools, “Yes” to more meaningful transparency and “No” to more new toys for Robbie’s political toy box bought on the backs of the taxpayers!
Thanks for an honest assessment of the Mayor's new "Visual Budget"Patricia! Sounds like another one of those little "toys" for the Mayor and his assistants to play with and use to fool us all with! I say save the money and have the Mayor and his department heads be just up front with the public on where all the money is going to and the "real budget numbers". Is that really too much to expect.
Whenever the Mayor seems to need a couple of million dollars for pay raises, presto..it suddenly appears! Like when teachers need a pay raise. When new computers are needed or a new roof is needed, or several new positions in a school are needed.....sorry..no money is available. Isn't that strange?
Yes I’m answering my own post publically but with a caveat. I don’t begrudge the purchase of Munis and Aspen as these programs are truly state of the art software programs that can offer so much transparency and lessen the work load for a municipality that is committed to using all the functionality these programs have to offer.
What is wasteful is that the Mayor and the School Committee’s demand that we buy the “latest and greatest” tools without having purchased the necessary support and training needed to take advantage of a proper implementation! Not to mention the fact that there is absolutely no accountability if the “stake holders” choose not to be trained or IF (and that is a big IF) the staff is trained and is allowed a choice NOT to use what was purchased as opposed to being REQUIRED TO USE WHAT THE TAX PAYERS HAVE GENEROUSLY PAID FOR! “Stakeholders” ….the edubable expression du jour that Margaret Driscoll, Jessica Dugan and Taymore love to utter ad nauseum! Need I remind you ladies that “stakeholders” include the “taxpayers”!
What I also find offensive and an insult to the taxpayers’ collective intelligence is the attendant propagandized urgency and hand wringing associated with the immediate NEED to purchase said materials considered “state of the art”. Dolan comes across a tidbit of information in a sound bite that he barely understands, doesn’t feel the need to do any due diligence to see if it meets the needs of Melrose citizens and instead seizes the political opportunity to collect another Trophy Wife if he gets his way!
Remember the “science kits” and the “health and wellness program” that was purchased? Those books and workbooks were lost and unaccounted for when Taymore did her inventory audit. Penny wise and pound foolish doesn’t begin to explain the waste and careless mismanagement of materials that were bought with taxpayer money. So why would we vote for an override?
One last thing....
Ms.Kourkoumelis is the ONLY one on the school committee that has been addressing all these concerns I've recounted herein for years and her gatekeeping responsibilities have been marginalized, criticized and summarily dismissed by the Mayor, Ms Thorpe and the rest of the thugs on the school committee over the years as they have refused to put her concerns on the agenda and have systematically and politically worked to undermine the serious vetting she has taken an oath of office to uphold . Thank you Carrie for a truly thankless job my friend.
Be careful who you talk to and what you say.
Kristen T. was badmouthing Carrie K. to Gail I. in a public place recently.
Vote them both out next election. I'm rethinking my opinion on term limits.
Anyone who has attended school committee meetings or has watched them on cable or had any dealings with her knows how unethical and unscrupulous she is.
Come to the MHS PTO meeting tomorrow night, RD is the headliner. Should be a hoot, cannot wait to hear the spin and bs from the master. Override my a**! We all remember when a certain individual was caught redhanded by fellow Democratic City Committee members handing out leaflets for the Republican on the ballot.