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Peter Quinn Resigns 129

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the the-limelight-is-far-too-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Andy Updegrove is reporting on his blog that Peter Quinn, CIO of Massachusetts and focus of the recent media feeding frenzy, has decided to step down. Quinn stressed that his departure does not signal any major changes in policy nor was he forced to resign. He did say that a large part of the decision was made by the Boston Globe's unfounded (and quickly disproven) charges."
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Peter Quinn Resigns

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  • I guess one needs a thicker skin...
  • by gadzook33 (740455) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:41AM (#14350056)
    The government seems really committed to its legacy information systems. Someone in a position of power finally decides to do something and is penalized for it. This is a perfect example of what's wrong with the government at all levels.
    • I find it interesting that this happened in Massachusetts of all places. Granted, in most other states OSS would never have gotten as far, but MA is usually more progressive than to tear down a cost-cutting advocate. To have corporate interests launch such a public attack on a public figure, especially in a place like MA, shows just how little fear and much power they have.
    • by Burz (138833) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @02:09AM (#14350331) Journal
      Or, in this case, it shows us what's wrong with commercial newsrooms.
    • I hope this doesn't become another case of the government "revolving door". If he gets a high-paid lobbiest's job at the Open Source Technology Group I will be very dissapointed.
    • by plopez (54068) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:02AM (#14351761) Journal
      What's wrong with legacy systems, if they do at least 80% of the required job? Changing large systems is always a risky proposition, espcially when you get 'flavor of the month' hucksters in the door trying to sell you new systems who have no clue as to the convoluted business process the legacy system has evolved to model.

      Stick with legacy whenever possible. It is often cheaper and more effective.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        With MS, you can't stick with legacy systems. You will be forced to perform an expensive upgrade sooner or later.
  • by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:41AM (#14350059)
    I don't think there's really anything to this story in regards to anything technical. Policy, as he says, will remain relatively unchanged. The main thing is his reaction to being in the public's eye, and his actions under the pressure of unfounded allegations.

    The same thing happens to all politicians and anyone in the public's eye. George W Bush sloughs off criticism about his military past. Bill Clinton was able to sidestep allegations of sexual harassment in the Paula Jones case and tackled the issue head on in the Lewinsky witchhunt. Vince Foster blew his brains own brains out.

    Public scrutiny really shows the true character and intestinal fortitude of the scrutinized.
    • I think it would be more accurate to compare what's happening to him as a low key Swift-boating (like what they did to Kerry)

      It's important to remember that it doesn't matter how true the story is, what matters is the impression that sticks with readers.

      If you tell people a lie, the ones who want to believe it will, probably because it meshes with their preconcieved ideas about the subject. If you tell them later that it was a lie, it doesn't really matter, because their perception of the issue has already
      • "I also don't think it's fair to compare a CEO to Presidents past or present. Most CEOs don't have a PR dept solely dedicated to making them look good, or dedicated to documenting the Christmas antics of their pets for that matter."

        Well, CEOs don't have to stick their neck out like a president has to. CEOs can basically work in total privacy as far as the company is concerned. Also, CEOs, or rather the companies they work for, *do* have a PR department that makes the company look good.

        Historically, the pr
      • I read both stories and I am hard pressed to find anything that I would consider a lie on the part of the Boston Globe.

        The headline of the first story is Romney administration reviewing trips made by technology chief [boston.com].

        The headline of the second story is Review backs trips by technology chief [boston.com] with a sub-headline of "No conflict found for aide."

        I suspect that the first story would have been clearer if Eric Kriss, Peter J. Quinn's former supervisor, had returned the Globe's phone calls. The second article m

        • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @03:33AM (#14350514) Journal
          The appearance of scandal can be just as damaging as the real thing.

          Basically, the reporter didn't get in contact with the guy's boss before writing his article and (falsely) implying that there was something about the trips worth investigating.

          Might seem like a tempest-in-a-teapot to us, but to the people in that teapot, it was obviously a big enough issue that the guy quit.
        • I'm a bit surprised at the thought that the Globe articles had anything to do with Peter J. Quinn's decision to resign.

          I've known more than one politician to resign when they realized what really could happen. He had a front-page article explaining that he is a cheat and an embezzler. He probably also realizes that the attention that he gained with his large change to the policy would make him a target for more such stories. Why would he put up with that? I like my job, but if I had the choice to do m
        • "I suspect that the first story would have been clearer if Eric Kriss, Peter J. Quinn's former supervisor, had returned the Globe's phone calls." Did you note the date on the story? The Saturday after Thanksgiving? "Kriss, who left state government in September, did not return phone messages left at his home yesterday and Wednesday." This was an intentional smear by the Globe. They timed it so that no-one was around to respond, why else would they rush it out in a week?
      • what's happening to him as a low key Swift-boating (like what they did to Kerry)

        Do you know of a good site debunking the swift boat stuff?

        A friend of mine works for the production company that was hired to do the swift-boat commercials and has consquently been 100% brain-washed into believing them (they were quite liberal with the kool-aid it seems). Now that the election is long over, nobody seems interested in following up on all the hue and cry - but if someone has done a good job (not just another part
        • by nathanh (1214)

          Do you know of a good site debunking the swift boat stuff?

          JFGI.

          • http://www.factcheck.org/article231.html
          • http://mediamatters.org/items/200408050007
          • http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Swift _Boat_Veterans_for_Truth
          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swift_Vets_and_POWs _for_Truth

          Though IMO the biggest torpedo that sank the Swift Vets claims came from the New York Times.

          The New York Times reported on August 5, the Kerry campaign noted that "none of the men had actually served on the Swift boa

          • by Anonymous Coward
            Though IMO the biggest torpedo that sank the Swift Vets claims came from the New York Times.

            The New York Times reported on August 5, the Kerry campaign noted that "none of the men had actually served on the Swift boats that Mr. Kerry commanded."

            From the same article:

            Adm. Roy F. Hoffman, who is retired and who says in the advertisement, "John Kerry has not been honest," acknowledged that the men in the advertisement did not serve on Mr. Kerry's boat, but he said their time in parallel boats on coordinated m

            • by nathanh (1214) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @09:42AM (#14351375) Homepage
              From the same article: Adm. Roy F. Hoffman, who is retired and who says in the advertisement, "John Kerry has not been honest,"

              Feel free to quote Hoffman all you like because the man has no credibility.

              HOFFMANN: Well, I can tell you that I did not know Kerry personally. I didn't ride the boat with him.

              But this highlights yet another tactic of the smear campaigns that are making a mockery of democracy in America. Start with an outlandish and dishonorable claim, such as claiming that Kerry's three Purple Hearts and Bronze medal were undeserved. Wait until the election time rather than disputing their worth in the decades since they were awarded. Then bury the counterclaims in trivia and minutiae that doesn't even have to be true; the barrage of lies and half-truths simply has to be so overwhelming that it overwhelms the common man so they tune out before the protests can be heard. The barrage of nonsense from Hoffman is simply part of this carpet-bombing media tactic.

              I'm not American and I couldn't give two hoots about Kerry but I'm disgusted with the way you partisan idiots are destroying your democracy. You are turning democracy into a childish football match, with teams and cheerleaders and points to be scored. Waiting several decades before calling somebody's war record into dispute is pathetic. It is a grave dishonour to somebody who risked their life to serve your country. Everybody who defends these SBV numbskulls should be ashamed and appalled at what you've turned your political system into. Between the partisan hackery and the voting scandals your democratic process is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the world.

              Pay attention to people like Jon Stewart and Stop Hurting America. Your country deserves far better than you partisan idiots are providing.

              • Bravo. Wish more Americans could see how ridiculous our election smear process is...

                Pisses me off.

                I voted for dubya the 1st go around, so I'm not just speaking from my liberal pulpit either.
                • Unfortunately, those of us who do realize it often can't actually do anything about it.

                  That is, unless everyone else does. I admit, voting in a member of the Liberitarian or Green parties as President would probably throw the Democrat and Republican parties for a loop...

          • JFGI

            I did. All of the rebuttals I found, and I believe all that you cited, are prior to a lot of follow-up and counter-responses from the swift boaters during the august-october timeframe. I was unable to readily find any follow-up rebuttals to the stuff they published during that timeframe.
  • by putko (753330) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:41AM (#14350060) Homepage Journal
    I'm suspecting that MicroSoft got some photos of this guy cavorting in a bathtub filled with mayonaise and a few attractive penguin prostitutes.

    A few phone calls the guy resigned. Who wouldn't?
    • Re:Nasty Photos (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They have attractive penguin prostitutes now? Awesome! Come on, hook me up, dude.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:42AM (#14350062) Homepage
    The Boston Globe's having a bad run lately. First that false story [fark.com] about Homeland Security checking up on library borrowing habits, and now this BS. If anyone should be gone, it's their editor.
    • The Quinn story actually came first, but yeah. The Boston Globe and the New York Times share the same owner, incidentally...
      • How many times this year has the NYT had to print retractions? Or refused to, after stories were proved to be false? Close to ten and the year isn't over. Not to mention reporters fired for phoney stories. That whole chain of papers is only good for fish wrap or fireplace starter now, what a fall from where they used to be. It's amazing what can happen when opinion takes precedence over facts. One of these days they might get smart enough to take the golf shoes off before stepping on their dicks.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        For the record the Boston Globe and NYT also share another fascinating habit: faking subscriber numbers. If you cancel your subscription to either paper you're permanently recorded as "on vacation" and therefore included in their readership numbers (to help gain ad revenue). I know this because I deliver 'em (hence AC, just in case...) Sounds ethical eh?
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:50AM (#14350280)
      What's up with the Boston Globe?

      In a move that didn't sit well with many Boston residents, The Globe was bought by the NY Times. Editorial standards, even just on a basic proof-reading level, seem to have gone nowhere but down ever since.

      Really a shame, because the Globe's Spotlight Team was (and still is, to some degree) an excellent group; they do in-depth investigative journalism, perhaps comparable in some ways to PBS's Frontline.

      Also, if you're in the Boston area and interested in commentary on news stories of the day, tune in @7for Greater Boston [greaterboston.tv], with Emily Rooney on WGBH (Channel 2), with repeats on 44, I think. The "Beat The Press" Friday episode is especially good- a panel of journalists talk about the news media's behavior over the last week. John Carroll(sp?) is a master at amusing introductions. For their end of the year episode (Dec 23, 2005) he did a complete synopsys of the White House/CIA agent leak in the style of "Hollywood Squares", which was hysterical...and very effective. It's currently watchable in quicktime format....look on the left side of the homepage for the link.

    • I think that taco could do better than those globe guys, and that says a lot.
    • I stopped reading the Globe after the following precious incident.

      The Republicans had tapped a well groomed and attractive young man as their Lt Governor candidate. The Globe the next day mentioned in passing that he would be the first gay Lt. Governor if elected. He was at that time not out of the closet.

      I am a Democrat. I think this particular person, if he had by some chance become governor, would not have been a good one. He was too inexperienced. He had been mayor of my town and while earnest and w
  • Sounds like... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nettdata (88196) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:42AM (#14350063) Homepage
    Sounds like someone is getting ready for a nice, big lawsuit.

    "They posted all this crap about me, it wasn't true, I had to quit, I couldn't find a job, and by the time I could, I was out of touch and not hireable... gimme $8 million".

    • Re:Sounds like... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @03:56AM (#14350565) Journal
      After reading http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200512271 13652154 [groklaw.net]

      I [PJ] just interviewed Quinn's prior boss, Eric Kriss, and here's what he tells me, although note that it's not an official statement, since Kriss is no longer with the administration.

      Kriss:

      I've heard that Peter Quinn resigned as the CIO of Massachusetts effective Jan 9, 2006. I met with Peter briefly on December 21, prior to his decision, and he indicated to me he was extremely uncomfortable with the personal attention surrounding the open format controversy. Peter is an IT professional who is not accustomed to the rough-and-tumble world of politics. He found the last few months to be very distasteful, especially the Boston Globe article that seemed to imply some sort of improper influence related to his conference travel. He was completely cleared after an internal administrative review.
      As far as I know, Peter was not forced out over policy differences with senior administration officials.
      He didn't have to quit.

      It's unfortunate he got mistreated this way. The only people he could possibly sue are at the newspaper and they're safe unless he can prove that article was written with malicious intent.
      • Re:Sounds like... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nettdata (88196)
        That's exactly what I was inferring.

        It's depressing and somewhat pathetic that the political environment breeds the kind of shoddy, "investigative" journalism that seems to be running rampant, all in the hopes of gaining market share.

        I really feel for this guy and the situation he was thrown into, and I hope he gives the "journalist" a nice swift kick in the sack.... financially speaking, of course.

      • It is the newspaper's job to NOT present opinion mixed with fact - then the opinion gets taken as fact
  • 1st thought I had after reading that he wasn't forced out was him next being forced denounce OpenFormats on camera by an unseen gunman. ;)
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:42AM (#14350065) Journal
    Romney administration reviewing trips made by technology chief

    By Stephen Kurkjian, Globe Staff | November 26, 2005


    The Romney administration has launched a review of several out-of-state trips that its top technology officer took to conferences sponsored in part by companies who stand to benefit from a change in computer software used by the state.

    Peter J. Quinn, director of the state's Informational Technology Division and its chief information officer, has traveled to 12 out-of-state conferences in the last two years, visiting Brazil, Ottawa, San Francisco, Japan, Puerto Rico, and other locations, records show. Most of the conferences were sponsored by technology and information companies.

    Romney administration officials are investigating whether Quinn violated travel procedures by not obtaining written authorization for six of the trips -- to Brazil, Ottawa, San Francisco, and other cities -- since September 2004. For six other trips, he received written approval from his supervisor.

    The state launched its inquiry after the Globe began asking questions about the trips earlier this week; it is being conducted by Thomas H. Trimarco, the head of Administration and Finance. Two Romney administration officials, who asked not to be identified because the inquiry was ongoing, said Trimarco will seek to determine why Quinn did not obtain written authorization for the travel and whether having trips paid for by conference sponsors would have violated the state's conflict-of-interest law.

    On most of the trips, Quinn said, his travel and other expenses were paid for by the sponsors of the conferences. On two of the trips -- to Tucson and Washington, D.C. -- Quinn paid his own way, according to state records and an interview with Quinn.

    Eric Fehrnstrom, director of communications for Romney, said Wednesday that ''we have discovered there is not a complete record for all of Mr. Quinn's travels, and we are reviewing the matter," referring to a state requirement that employees obtain authorization for travel. State rules also require employees to provide a detailed estimate of the cost of travel sponsored by private firms and other outside groups.

    Quinn was appointed in September 2002, before Romney won election. In an e-mail responding to questions from the Globe, Quinn said that former administration and finance secretary Eric Kriss had told him that he did not have to receive written authorization for his 2005 travel. He said Kriss had given him verbal approvals for the trips. Most of the trips for which he did not get authorization occurred this year.

    Kriss, who left state government in September, did not return phone messages left at his home yesterday and Wednesday.

    Quinn is at the center of a controversial decision to require all documents produced by the state's executive branch to be stored in a new, universal format, called Open Document, that would work with many brands of software and is less likely to become obsolete. The change, closely watched in the information technology business, would require modifications to software running on thousands of state computers and is widely seen as a challenge to Microsoft Corp., which makes the Microsoft Office software used to generate documents.

    In the interview, Quinn said that he was in demand at the conferences because of the state's initiative to move toward ''open standards" for its computer systems, which would be able to read or use documents that are written with programs other than Office.

    Quinn said he sought the legal advice of Linda M. Hamel, the lawyer for the Informational Technology Division, on the propriety of his appearing at a conference in which his travel and room were being paid for by the sponsors of the conference. He declined to provide the specifics of which trips he discussed with her or the advice she gave him.

    But in general, Quinn said, he sought Hamel's opinion ''if I thought there might be an issue."

    Hamel confirmed that she and Quinn had dis
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @02:14AM (#14350342)
      As PJ of Groklaw reported (and as the Boston Globe *retracted*)--Peter Quinn DID have verbal authorization for those trips and was cleared of all wrongdoing.

      I realize you didn't say otherwise, but I just thought it best to point that out, prominently, wherever this information is mentioned :)

      After all, the first Boston Globe article was front page news. The retraction was burried deep in the middle of a section not many would see :-/
      • No, the story was not proven wrong. The original article stated that Quinn went to those conferences without filling out the official Travel Authorization Form [mass.gov] and by not doing so he is in violation of the state's Travel Guidelines [mass.gov] and state regulations. These regulations are in place so that state employees prove that the conferences they are about to go to are real conferences and not wine and dine junkets. The story was very slanted. It could be described as sensationalistic or yellow journalism. The st

  • by causality (777677) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:42AM (#14350066)
    Now the accusations don't even need to stick. Simply whine enough and you will get your way and the other guy will cave. As this pattern is repeated over and over again the spine will become obsolete.
  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @12:43AM (#14350071)
    Get out of the Kitchen.

    As the old saying goes. Looks like he took it to heart. Smart too, it's never good to let the cult of personality interfere with policy. While I'm sad to see him go, I realize why he did it, and understand the need to step aside so the argument isn't about him. I'm sure he will be working from the sidelines as best he can. I wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors.
    • Interesting comment. We'll likely never fully understand all the reasons why he resigned, but if his intentions are to ensure that attention remains focused on the policy and facts at hand then he has just dealt a powerful blow to his adversaries.

      With the dirty tricks that certain companies will use to pay off or bully decision makers his resignation seems to take away their second tactic which seems to have been employed because the first was not an option. So now with Quinn out of the picture and a super
    • > While I'm sad to see him go, I realize why he did it, and understand the need to step aside
      > so the argument isn't about him.

      Yea, good he resigned so that everyone else will realize that not buying Microsoft is a career limiting decision. Sure will inspire a whole new batch of martyrs to leap forth and do battle with the forces of darkness.

      Yes, for the slashbots without much clue, that was sarcasm.
  • by marcushnk (90744) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {sutcenes}> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:11AM (#14350163) Journal
    He should just take some leave, then come back recharged and ready to weather the bulls!th from the media. He's not really doing himself a favour in resigning.
    • He's not really doing himself a favour in resigning.

      Like M$ does not have the resources to buy more bullshit?

      I think he needs to spend some time on revenge. Microsoft should be punished for this and hopefully will be. There's a clear path between the "story" and it's source and very clear malicious intent. It's called slander and whoever did it should pay. When it hit a paper, it became libel and he will be tarred with it forever.

      He should just take some leave, then come back recharged and ready to

  • Story? (Score:4, Funny)

    by SoyMilkCowz (896072) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:18AM (#14350187)
    I don't see how this is news, because according to http://www.consortiuminfo.org/newsblog/blog.php?ID =1863 [consortiuminfo.org], he retired last January. has resigned, effective January 9, 2005.
  • by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @01:31AM (#14350224) Homepage Journal
    The Boston Globe article implying Peter Quinn acted improperly, and Governor Romney's investigation into such, was a blatantly paid-for political hatchet job. The parties involved, including Mitt Romney and Boston Globe staff reporter Stephen Kurkjian, should be held responsable for this loss of valuable employee.

    Sharing their disgrace should be Fox News reporter James Prendergast for reprinting alarmist, baseless, claims by Microsoft front organization "Americans for Technology Leadership" about OpenDocument, further speading disinformation on the whole topic.

    What Peter Quinn and others in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Information Technology was trying to do was set a sane long-term document strategy for a state government whose records include the oldest constitution in the world (predates the US Constitution.)

    If we can't read documents that were generated by proprietary formats only a few years old how can we manage laws, deeds, and other material looking forward decades and centuries? At least with OpenDocument there will be a published freely re-implementable file format that can be widely used as time goes on.

    As to MS claiming their formats are "open" they've sung that song over and over yet each time it has proven to be untrue as critical portions of their formats are consistently undocumented or legally encumbered. Heck they can't even reliably read back their own material from products a generation or two prior.

    MS's real fear is that by breaking the cycle of locked-in file formats they'll have to compete on a level playing field with alternative products. The truth is it would take them a few days to come up with an OpenDocument converter, the same as they've done for dozens of competing formats.

    Whoever hires Peter Quinn will be getting a fellow with considerable professional integrity. Whether his replacement shows the same level of honesty and dedication is a serious concern, particularly considering Governor (& future Presidential candidate) Mitt Romney's willingness to whore out critical appointments in return for special-interest campaign contributions.

    I wonder how MS will be funneling the money this time? Will they be washing it through Republican stronghold Staples Corporation or through some other ersatz 'grass roots' astro-turfing front like Americans for Technology Leadership?

    • Romney and his administration didn't have a choice but investigate. The Nov. article says the Globe went to the administration and basically said, we've got evidence that this guy broke the rules. They could do two things - say we won't investigate it, which the Globe spins into a story about the future Presidential candidate protecting his own and playing political games, or put their high ranking finance person on the review, at which point the Globe says that Romney is investigating Quinn.

      The Globe wen
  • This just can't be?! The BS about him in the news is just the reason for him to stay.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    SCALE 4x [socallinuxexpo.org] has invited all .gov IT staff in California at both the state and local levels to attend their ODF Workshop [socallinuxexpo.org]. The workshop is being produced in conjunction with the OpenDocument Fellowship.
  • The more that sick and ugly shenanigans are brought to light, the greater the likelihood of a peaceful revolution at the ballot box.
    The US political system needs an enema at pretty much all levels.
    Guys like this CIO, who are trying to do the Right Thing, and meeting evil at every turn, deserve to be write-ins on ballots.
  • First a Russian minister resigned abruptly a day or two ago, saying the country is no longer free...and now this guy resigns? Is anyone else reminded of Atlas Shrugged?
    • Is anyone else reminded of Atlas Shrugged?

      I would comment, but the NSA is monitoring my posts and Cuba is too damn hot in the summers.

      -Eric

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