Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 90 days to do something story

A prime example of how the PLCB doesn't work.

Just under four months ago I was working on a story and needed to check some information about the District Managers. The PLCB had a webpage for that where all you had to do was click on the county and a pop-up would tell you what district it was in and who the district manager was, at least that is what the instructions said. Great, just what I needed.  So I click on the county and .....nothing happens.  I try a different one....same thing, nothing happens. So I email the "LB Webmaster" who tells me: "The link below is an outdated page.  We will submit this to our IT department for removal from search engines."

About 6 hours later I get this message from Stacy Kriedeman, the Director of External Affairs; certainly an acceptable response time.  "Here is a current list of our district managers.  If you need anything else, please let us know."

So, taking her up on the 'if I need anything else,' I reply: "Thank you very much.  Will this information no longer be on the website if the page that it was on is going to be removed?"

Stacy responds shortly thereafter:"We're looking into it. I don't believe it's on the current public website, but that doesn't mean it can't be added. I just need to do some research and that's going to take a little time.Thanks for your patience."

Now I'm thinking - if the webpage isn't on the current public website and I don't have any non-public access, then how did I get to it from the PLCB website? Plus, it doesn't need to be added since it is already there, all they have to do is update it with the information she already sent me. Don't they know what is on their own website?

The question is now will they update the website with the information that they have or will they delete it from the public view? So everything is well and good, the page will either be fixed or deleted if I have some patience and she did send me the info I was looking for. So how long will this take I wonder? I check once in a while and finally AFTER 3 MONTHS I send this.

"It seems we have a vastly different idea of what "a little time" is. It has been 90 days since I pointed this out and the non-functioning webpage is still non-functioning and still accessible... I'm not entirely sure why the PLCB no longer wants to provide this information to the general public, perhaps you can offer an explanation?"

Well, guess what?  That next morning, the page was no longer accessible, the information it provided is no longer available, and there was no explanation forthcoming as to why what used to be available to the public was no longer going to be available to the public. Not keeping the public informed is easier, I guess.

Just like anything else it seems, the PLCB only does something when pushed, or when their mistakes are pointed out, or when the threat of privatization looms. That is no way to run a state agency and certainly no way to run a business.


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