Hi Minnesota Legislative Auditor James Nobles,
I am a database administrator with 20 years experience in development, administration and software applications for multi-billion dollar corporations and state government. I read your program audit of CriMNet with interest, having noticed CriMNet before, especially the MJNO fiasco. If you google "CriMNet" you will find my views on the first page, CriMNet and MJNO databases have political uses.
I am very critical of your program evaluation, I hope you do not take my critical points personally, but can use my remarks to improve the evaluation and the CriMNet program.
I was disappointed to find that your report did not name names, but mush mouthed around the responsibility of those involved, referring to this director or that administrator, not Director Jane Doe or Administrator Joe Bloe. Cross referencing obscure new-speak titles to real people is tedious and a waste of time.
Also, the lack of reference to the elephant in the room, MJNO, is puzzling to me. It is a CriMNet program that was a spectacular and dangerous failure. This program brings up many of the problems of CriMNet, especially the effects and controls of the CriMNet program. The effects, controls and safeguards of CriMNet programs were glossed over in your report, a serious defect in your evaluation. Vague references that the Data Practices Act should be followed do not an audit make. An FBI employee just got sentenced for abuse of information. The BCA has declared the whistleblower hacker of the CriMNet-MJNO a criminal fugitive, ready to kill the messenger of the bad news. I thought these incidents serious, even rating a mention in an audit, but maybe not.
Does it take the suicide of a Director to get real answers from an audit? (A reference to the suicide of the Minnesota State Lottery Director.)
In fact, the report has a marked similarity to other reports I found on the CriMNet site and seems to be a rehash of the mishmash already there, including the previous vague reports about administration problems.
Also lacking in CriMNET and your evaluation is a wider perspective of what other states and the Feds are doing at this time. We as a state are not alone, there are many other similar programs out there as well as critiques of those programs. The most economical and effective method of accomplishing legitimate CriMNet goals may be to wait and do what the other states and the Feds do, rather than blundering and scandaling along the costly road to hell. I did see a little reference in the "Further Reading" section to a couple papers outside of the Star of the North, but no exerpts or links.
NOTE: the "Further Reading" and "Introduction" sections have the the "No Child Left Behind" audit report stuck in them, I think this is an error. It is referenced on the table of contents page http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/Ped/pedrep/0405toc.htm "Further Reading". http://www.auditor.leg.state.mn.us/Ped/pedrep/0405toc.htm "Introduction".
I realize you want to keep your job and have many masters in the legislature, but as an auditor I hope you also have the protections needed to do a critical and revealing audit and are not muzzled.
I hope there is a place to include comments on your audits. If so, please include mine.Steven Hauser