On Tuesday evening at the 1/5/10 Reorganization meeting, I asked Mayor McHale whether the borough remained under contract with the website contractor. The mayor responded that the contract did not expire until the end of February.
I then looked at the recently passed resolutions and found Resolution 286 dated 11/24/09, which states:
"WHEREAS, the contract for the current Borough website shall expire in January 2010;"
As clearly seen on the resolution, it was offered by Zamechansky and seconded by Caspare. Councilmembers Caspare, Manna, Riquelme, Stylianou and Zamechansky voted 'YES'. The resolution was signed by Mayor McHale.
Surely I found myself even more surprised when I was browsing through the document repository on bergennow.com (registration required) and found a copy of the contract signed by the borough representative and the contractor C3 dated 12/31/07. According to the contract, the effective date is 1/1/08 with a two year duration. Without an extension provision present, would that make contract expiration on 12/31/09? As I was unable to locate documentation from the council approving a contract extension with C3, is the contract no longer in force?
I am concerned that when contract services like this runs out, the client can be cut off without warning, even if you are Microsoft. A recent Record article noted that when Teaneck switched contractors from C3, C3 encrypted website data that effectively seized access from Teaneck officials. No wonder they were fired. All this, despite C3 being paid over $100,000 for website development and maintenance. Looking at the contract signed by the borough, it appears that C3 owns all content on their servers. As bad as it sounds, C3 appears within its right to seize data produced by Dumont in the same way. Perhaps I have missed something, as I am not a lawyer. Where in the contract is Dumont's investment in content protected? Does $36,000 go down the drain?
I am also worried that the borough is paying excessive fees for a service that appears inadequate for borough needs. In the 11/5/09 minutes it was reported that the current website "does not have the capability to upload council meeting video". Yet the bills list on 12/15/09 listed a check to "C3 Communications" for $18,000. Meanwhile, neighboring municipalities pay a mere fraction for similar product. As for me, I pay $96 to upload council meeting videos for 14 months. Is $18,000 ever a valid expense? Does this line item belong in a bare bones budget?
Perhaps C3 made sense two years ago; however, now that GIS is provided by Bergen County and secure emergency notification offered to municipalities free of charge, how much longer must our elected officials continue to overlook opportunities to eliminate waste?
I am sure there exists a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this; however, please pardon me if I feel more cheated than confused.