Sunday, March 20, 2016

How to Lose an Election

Right now.....if you are a political figure in the Berlin region (the whole state of Berlin, in fact) are walking eggshells until the fall election.  You really don't need to screw or get negative press because people will remember stupid acts.

So, it comes up in the news this week....there's accusations of a inside contract deal with the Berlin mayor and a friend.  The deal?  It's with a US consulting company in the range of 238,000 Euro (this is what Deutsche Welle is reporting over on their side).  It's roughly $268,000 American.

What was the contract about?  An integration plan to handle an incoming crew of 80,000 refugees.  You see, the city didn't have a single person on their staff capable of building such a plan.  It's hard to say this with a straight face.  You'd think with literally hundreds of people on the city staff....most all with some type of Abi (almost the level of a community college) or a college degree itself....that they would have one or two people who could sit down and write the requirements, the general time-line, and the risks involved.  But no.....they wanted to be told this by the contracted company.

Typically, when you do a contract.....there is a bid process.  You write the requirement of what you expect, give a time-line for the product to be delivered, and accept bids over a short period.  The mayor and staff avoided that....which means they had a 'favorite' in mind and it likely means they overpaid for the advice given.  It also demonstrates that they wanted the advice ONLY from someone that they felt was qualified in their mind.

This all leads the political opposition machine in Berlin politics to suggest that the Mayor was helping to funnel business to a former associate, who worked for McKinsey.

By mid-Thursday this past week....the heat was on, as opposition parties (mostly the Pirate Party, the Linke Party, and the Greens) demanded that the mayor appear and explain things.  They had enough keep the session open and force the mayor to appear.  So eventually, Michael Muller (the mayor) showed up.  Local news attending describes him as being a bit aggravated (this from the Tagesspiegel).  He made a few comments, and left the situation in a negative position from public perception.

The last part of this story is the puzzling part.  This master plan delivered to the city?  The commentary so far indicates that it's mostly a marginalized plan with no real time schedule.  If it were'd mean that the 238,000 Euro was mostly flushed down with nothing showing value.

Whether the SPD (the mayor's party) likes it or not....this episode tarnished their character and transparency.  It'll be brought up in campaign advertising later in the year.  At this point, you really wouldn't want to lose one-to-two percent of your voters on something stupid like this.....over a lousy 238,000 Euro.

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