Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Excessive spending going on at County IT

Check out the article in the New Times about Maricopa County IT CIO Steve Wetzel spending money on computer equipment like it's going out of style. What is going on? The county is in the middle of one of the biggest fiscal crises ever, and the Board of Supervisors are already in trouble for spending $347 million on a new luxury court tower. The Board of Supervisors has forced the Sheriff and County Attorney to cut their law enforcement budgets by 15%.

Who is this guy and why is he doing it?

According to New Times, an anonymous letter revealed that Wetzel is a former employee of Cisco Systems, and got Cisco to give the county a mysterious $527,000 donation. Obviously they're not doing it out of the generosity of their hearts.

Excerpts from the article:

Hundred's of thousands of dollars were spent wiring these offices and more for Cisco WiFi, only to find out that security rules governing wireless transmission of the sensitive data these offices handle, ever prohibit them from turning them on!

Additionally, Mr. Wetzel has spent millions on Cisco racks, routers and installation labor in order to build his "Gigabit to the desktop" across the County. Much of the equipment is still not turned on, yet the County is already on year two of a three year Cisco warranty!

A trip to the basement of the County's 301 building will show stacks of expensive Cisco equipment still sitting in their original boxes, uninstalled.

The letter also states that a member of the Board of Supervisors, (whom the letter, suspiciously, does not name), traveled to Sweden on Cisco's dime to attend Al Gore's Nobel Prize ceremony.

The anonymous letter says that this is the 5th CIO the county has hired within the fast few years! Inept. Wonder how much it cost taxpayers to hire and train all of them. Apparently Wetzel is buying these ultra-expensive servers in order to turn the county into a #1 data center. Which goes against the grain of government, which should be concerned about costs, not fancy new computer equipment trying to compete with the private sector. According to the anonymous writer, the county currently runs on one Cisco server just fine, but Wetzel is buying four more at a cost of $500,000 each! Arizona Republic reporter Yvonne Wingett gives this outrage a free pass, since the County Supervisors and managers have sidled up to her giving her special access to their offices. What a shame, at least the New Times is reporting this.


  1. holy smokes. Accuracy is not an issue here, eh?
    1. Wetzel never worked for Cisco. he was a teacher for the community college and taught a Cisco course. 2. Cisco is not accused, Calence (now Insight) a cisco partner is accused.
    3. You are off your rocker if you think this guy is inept. If you actally read the letter you'l notice they are following best practices for ANY major network.

  2. Sounds like he is providing redundancy and desaster recovery to critical services and network that supports our county goverment and provides these service to the county tax payer. This story smells of MCSO!!! I would question the cost of these devices as well, I'm sure they do not cost 500K each.


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