Sebelius hired wrong company, should be fired for fiasco
The so-called rollout of Obamacare is a nightmare. The most recent problems are with the Internet site where folks are supposed to be able to sign up for insurance. Millions have gone to the site or tried to get on the site — mostly to no avail.
Some call it a minor computer glitch. In reality, it is a computer fiasco.
How did this happen? The secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, was in charge of constructing this complicated system. She hired a Canadian firm, CGI Federal, which was given a contract worth over $200 million — with no responsibility to complete that work for that price and on time. Now they are in overruns at taxpayer expense — likely to run into half a billion dollars. To make matters worse, this contract was given to CGI without requiring competitive bidding.
CGI has a reputation for failing to deliver. Major decisions were made behind closed doors at HHS without oversight. It is interesting to note that the Canadian government, in 2012, fired CGI’s parent company for missing three years of deadlines and developing a substandard product that proved unworkable.
It will now take several months of continuous patches to the website that was built with old technology and full of security problems just to gain basic functionality — like giving the correct information to insurers.
The government apparently did not test each section and did not do a trial run because they wanted to rush to put up the website.
Sebelius, who had three years to get ready, should be fired.
Preserve Princetown town court security
It’s a sad state of affairs when the supervisor of Princetown believes court security is “much ado about nothing” (Gazette editorial page, Oct. 14, 2013). How does one justify protection for the public by the number of cases a court hears?
I cannot fault the Gazette’s opinion, because it is based on Mr. Joyce’s misrepresentation of the facts. These are the facts that either Mr. Joyce doesn’t know or intentionally leaves out.
Mr. Joyce claims there is a decline in Princetown town court cases, and yet it still has collected more than $1.5 million and is the second highest town court in Schenectady County reporting fines to the state comptroller over the past three years. With this said, Mr. Joyce and the town board approved budgeted monies for court security for the 2013 calendar year — and yet, according to Mr. Joyce, security and the clerical budget had to be cut because of the decline in court cases. Once again, how does the number of court cases overshadow the need for public protection?
Mr. Joyce and the Gazette belittle the importance of Princetown court by stating it is a parking and speeding ticket court. First, Mr. Joyce does not even know that the town of Princetown has no parking violation bureau. Second, the town of Princetown has adjudicated cases from violations, misdemeanors and felonies to civil, small claims and summary proceedings. These cases pertain to Vehicle and Traffic Law, Penal Law, Environmental Conservation Law, Public Health Law, Alcohol Beverage Control Law, tax laws, transportation laws, as well as Princetown local laws.
Mr. Joyce intentionally leaves out incidents that have occurred in the past, including the man who came to court under the influence of alcohol with a gun, several threats upon personnel in the Town Hall, and unruly behavior disturbing court proceedings. All these incidents place the public in harm’s way.
I will not relent when it comes to the need for two security officers in the Princetown court, just as Sheriff Dom Dagostino won’t. Security, not just for the town of Princetown court, is like an insurance policy: One never really wants to use it, but if the need arises it is in place to protect the public. Obviously, Mr. Joyce does not feel this way.
Michelle A. VanWoeart
The writer is town justice.
Mont Pleasant kids a model of good behavior
Recently there has been a great deal of negative news about Mont Pleasant Middle School students: insubordination, fighting in school and after school, lack of discipline and all-around chaos, bullying and violence.
Recently, I attended a matinee performance of “Sleeping Beauty” [at Proctors]. Seated with friends, we noticed a very large group of teenagers enter the theater, walk politely and quietly to their seats in the upper balcony. I asked them what school they were from, and they said Mont Pleasant.
Were these the students I had been hearing about all week? They were very polite and friendly and obviously enjoyed the show, evidenced by their behavior and enthusiasm, as part of a very appreciative audience.
Let’s hear more good news about the good kids. There are a lot of them out there.
The writer is a retired teacher.
Good example set by job for disabled woman
In 2012, I approached [Princetown Supervisor] Mike Joyce concerning the possibility of the town participating in an internship in which my daughter Denise, a young lady with Down syndrome, would be involved. Mike was very receptive and stated he would bring it before the Town Board.
The support received from the board and Mike Joyce was overwhelming. Mike provided Denise with all the means needed for her success. It resulted in Denise being given the opportunity to work as the town’s mail clerk.
I would be remiss not to give special thanks to Ila Oby-Mead (bookkeeper and Denise’s on-the-job supervisor), who showed kindness, patience and encouragement every step of the way.
The Employment Training Program [EPT] is a state-funded program through the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. This program provides a job coach for training. The coach works hand-in-hand with the employer and the potential employee. The goal of the program is to help the participant become suitably and gainfully employed.
This is a great program, and I wish to thank [EPT Supervisor] Gloria Hart for her support. My hope is that other employers will follow Princetown’s fine example and provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Letter writer the one who’s really in denial
Gary P. Guido’s Oct. 23 letter, “Republicans still in denial over damage inflicted on U.S.,” is a classic case of Obama damage denial.
To those who think like Gary, ask yourselves this: “Who has doubled the amount of debt that Bush put us in?” “Whose social change has destroyed the middle class and created more poor?”
And: “Who has more dead and wounded in a war that he promised to end five years ago than Bush had in eight years?”
Terry K. Hurlburt
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