DeKalb’s mayor vying to become DeKalb Park District’s chief information officer as well

DeKalb Park District put out a Request for Proposals for a new IT contract. Eight firms applied. Of these, staff whittled down the list to three finalists: CMJ IT Solutions of Sycamore, Noventech of Lombard, and Sundog IT of DeKalb. The park board will probably be making a decision tomorrow.

I’ve read the three proposals and believe all of them merit consideration. However, Sundog presents special problems because its president is DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes and he wants to deliver his own hands-on personal service. From his proposal:

Cohen Barnes will also be assigned the role of VCIO and be available for broader IT related discussions, discussions with the DeKalb Park District Leadership Team and Board when necessary. Cohen will also be directly involved in budget creation and discussions with District Staff.

VCIO stands for virtual chief information officer. Normally, a CIO of any sort would be an employee of the organization being served, with a legitimate role in budget creation, as opposed to a salesperson working an upsell strategy.

Contrast Mr. VCIO’s approach with Noventech’s proposal:

The performance by Provider of its duties and obligations under this Agreement will be that of an independent contractor, and nothing herein will create or imply an agency relationship between Provider and Client, nor will this Agreement be deemed to constitute a joint venture or partnership between the parties.

Noventech’s proposal also would cost $1,500 less per month than Sundog’s.

Regardless of the board’s choice, the park district should designate its own CIO or liaison, and not allow contractors to insinuate themselves into inappropriate roles.