Wisconsin IT department under fire over HP catalog

Wisconsin IT department under fire over HP catalog

Summary: 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.

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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.

But the catalog does include a statement from state legislature's tech services directory, Marsha Hefner, calling HP servers the "best fit" and noting HP servers allowed her to cut  the number of servers by 75%. 

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?

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Servers

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  • He did nothing illegal..but...

    As a government employee, Mr. Marotta seems to be pretty naive...

    You're telling me that as "State Administration Secretary" it didn't cross his mind that his actions could have been viewed as a conflict of interest? Then they had the nerve to hang a photo of this in the office???

    I personally would let him go just for lack of common sense. That was a pretty idiotic thing to do. Someone in this position doesn't know to go to the PIO to have this considered and approved first?

    He should really be pushing a mop...not HP products.
    zodiac13