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Opening Arguments

Nothing to see here

This sounds like an admission of incompetence to me:

Indiana's human services agency says it found problems with IBM Corp.'s takeover of welfare intake services early in the project and suggested delays, but yielded to the company's wishes to expand the project.

[. . .]

In its July 14 response to IBM's lawsuit, the state says the social services agency began to observe problems with IBM's performance soon after the project's initial rollout to 10 northern Indiana counties on Oct. 29, 2007, and an expansion to the project's second region was delayed and eventually split into smaller segments.

"FSSA suggested delaying further rollouts until the performance outages could be cured; however, IBM assured FSSA that if the Region 2 rollout was implemented, IBM would recognize some efficiencies and economies of scale that would improve performance. Accordingly, FSSA agreed to the rollout of Region 2," the state's lawyers wrote.

The filing appears to contradict statements public officials made at the time, in which they expressed satisfaction with the project.

Then-FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob told The Associated Press on March 16, 2008 — eight days before the expansion to 27 more counties — that "we're going to get this right and we're not going to do it fast. ... We have to do it with great care."

In the court filing, the state says public statements by Roob and Daniels praising IBM's work were "an effort to be professional and help the Modernization effort succeed ... rather than dwell on its continued shortcomings."

Oops. As the shrewd lawyers say to the rattled witnesses on the stand in all those TV dramas: Were you lying then, or are you lying now? Either way, state officials don't seem too trustworthy as guardians of taxpayers' interests. The point of the privatization was to do the job equally well or better and save money. Not paying attention to what the private contractor is doing (or just taking the contractor's word that everything is hunky-dory) adds greatly to the prospect that the experiment will fail.

(Irrelevant but interesting aside:  One theory about "hunky-dory" is that it goes back to Honcho Dori, said to be a street in Yokohama, Japan, where sailors went for, well, sailor play. It does not mean "sexy boat," though, however logical that sounds.)