The city of Austin needs a new website. And out of 300+ Requests for Proposals sent out they received 3 responses. So when the city counsel was about to vote on giving this $1.2 million project to a company based in California with most of its development workforce in India, the twittersphere took notice.
Quickly a group of tweeters let everyone in their circle know that this was happening. Someone started the #COAwebsite tag on twitter and a netroots movement was started. The next day the vote came up and someone on the council had enough sense to delay the awarding of the contract in order to look into the process. The twittersphere spoke and the city officials listened.
How could the City of Austin, home to SXSW Interactive (probably the best international creative internet development show in existence), home to over 20 good sized internet companies, employing and working to keep employing some of Austin’s brightest and best, home of ACL, Dell, Motorola, Apple, AMD, the State Capitol… Okay, I’m running on… How could the city of Austin honorably send this huge sum of money to California and India when so many in Austin are ready and willing to work for hire.
So how did we get only 3 responses? How did one proposal, two years ago, turn into the basis of the most recent RFP and then the creators of that proposal decided not to bother with the process for the THIRD TIME? What’s the problem here?
Wisely the city has delayed to get the input of more folks and the new employee in charge of the website has been sitting down with our leaders and asking how to fix the breakdowns in the process so the contract can move forward.
The site is quite dated. It does not serve as a shinning example of Tech Hills, Interactive Music Capitol, Silicon Hills, Zilker Park, mecca that we are.
So how DO we move forward? And what is the process of engagement? Who is the new city employee who is taking over this project and how to we reach them?
That’s the subject of the MeterThis’ campaign to Take Back the City of Austin Website.
Look to MeterThis! to collect and review all the information and re-post salient points here. If you would like to be involved in our work please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Austin Website Controversy by Ian Strain-Seymour
My Thoughts on the City of Austin Web Site Debacle by Nick Weynand
Keeping Austin in Austin (facebook group about website)
Austin Business Journal breaks the story: Austin May Tap California Company to ReDesign Website
Austin American Statesman asks, “Do People Need to Chill?” (Omar, what are YOU thinking with that question?)
And MyFox What is the City of Austin Thinking