VoIP Wars in Baltimore
Baltimore's Inspector General has been called in to investigate Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake's recent purchase of VoIP equipment.
The purchase was made as a preliminary step to a VoIP migration, but the controversy lies in whether the mayor's office has the authority to make such a purchase. Traditionally, the city's phone system has fallen under the comptroller's scope and Joan Pratt, the current office holder, is levying allegations that the purchase violated city regulations. However, the mayor's information technology office is likely better suited to manage the network of VoIP service.
Pratt says the mayor's office attempted to skirt the formal bidding process used for new contracts by making the purchase from Digicon, the city's contractor for all computer-related items. Rawling-Blake called in the City Solicitor to make an opinion and he considers the blurred line between computer and phone to be the reason the purchase is legitimate and appropriate.