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Editorial: State technology can’t be wasteful

From The Journal of Martinsburg:

Technology-related waste seems to have replaced corruption as the preferred method of flushing taxpayers’ money down the toilet in West Virginia.

Millions of dollars have been wasted — spent without any gain to show for it — on technology projects in state government. Probably the most infamous fiasco was “Routergate,” in which state technocrats ordered scores of computer routers vastly more complicated and expensive than were needed.

There have been other technology crashes, ranging from trouble in rolling out new software programs to questionable contracts for cellphone towers.

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice announced he has appointed John Dunlap as the state’s chief technology officer. Dunlap had been director of network engineering and architecture for the state Office of Technology.

Justice should encourage — nay, require — that Dunlap tackle his new job not as a technology whiz but as a penny-pincher who gets things done as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

Technicians and officials in digital industries have a word for doing things artfully. It is “elegant.”

West Virginians can’t afford to be elegant. We just need machines that work without draining our wallets and purses.


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