I write in response to your recent editorial concerning Baltimore City Inspector General David N. McClintock's report critical of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Office of Information Technology's misdeeds in its purchase and installation of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephones and computer equipment ("Mayor ducks responsibility," Sept. 30). This most unfortunate and ugly matter clearly cries out for substantial public scrutiny and debate, and I applaud The Sun for doing just that.
The Sun's editorial, however, sends a very perplexing and indeed, outright confusing message to its loyal readers who greatly value independence, consistency and integrity in the Sun's public reporting and editorial matters.
On the one hand, The Sun concludes and asserts that Ms. Rawlings-Blake, "continues to avoid taking responsibility for this mess," and goes on to emphasize that, "Mr. McClintock's report includes no evidence that the mayor was involved in any of this," after, "noting that Ms. Rawlings-Blake hired Mr. McClintock in the first place and has encouraged his aggressive and thorough investigations." Nothing could be more patently untrue. At first, Ms. Rawlings-Blake strongly opposed Mr. McClintock investigating this matter.
I just perceive that The Sun has consistently minimized, often sugar-coated and downplayed the real degree and intensity in which Ms. Rawlings-Blake has been informed and involved in this entire mess. The Sun's tacit agreement with City Solicitor George Nilson's opinion that the purchase of the VoIP telephones and computer equipment was not "illegal" lends strong support for my perception. The Sun's failure to see and conclude that the $675,000 VoIP telephones and computer equipment purchasing contract, plus the $135,535 contracts with city contractors that performed the VoIP pilot project, were clearly not handled in accordance with the city's competitive bidding charter provision, raise grave and serious concerns regarding The Sun's journalistic duty and commitment to report robustly on news related to waste, extravagance, collusion and favoritism in taxpayer-funded public contracts.
The Sun can't have it both ways. The Sun cannot report accurately and robustly on the VoIP telephone "mess," and in so doing, soft pedal and facially exhibit sympathy and partiality for Mayor Rawlings-Blake's and the city's VoIP telephones purchasing and contracting misdeeds.
Rather, The Sun must send a clear and unmistakable message to Ms. Rawlings-Blake that it will not minimize nor suppress any credible news regarding this and other important public contracting violations occurring during Mayor Rawlings-Blake's watch.
Arnold M. Jolivet, BaltimoreCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times