Wisconsin IT officials are feeling a little heat after appearing in HP's latest Government Solutions catalog (PDF). Department of Administration Marc Marotta appears on the cover and several other IT personnel are shown in a spread profiling Wisconsin's streamlined computer operations, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Wisconsin Common Cause complained that the state was making commercial endorsements. "Where does that end? Pretty soon you'll have the governor with a backdrop of brands of soup, soap and cleanser in the background." A state spokesman said it was not meant as an endorsement of HP but as good publicity for Wisconsin's efforts.
The article doesn't appear to violate any laws. Administration Dept. purchasing officers can't endorse products or services but state legislature employees can. And the prohibition doesn't apply to Morotta and others who don't directly buy products. John Rothschild, the Department of Administration's top attorney, said the catalog articles doesn't rise to the level of endorsement. But state Sen. Robert Cowles said: ""I don't think (Marotta) should be endorsing a particular product.I know the Legislature can't and shouldn't do that, and I think he should be held to the same standard."If you're involved in IT purchasing, what do you think? Would you be comfortable with appearing in a vendor catalog?