John Chambers, the Cisco Systems CEO, is a loyal West Virginia University alum. He has donated his time and money to the university.
In 2011, Chambers donated $750,000 to WVU for cancer research. The university is fortunate to have a graduate proclaimed as one of the most successful businessmen in the world.
But somebody in Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration needs to get Chambers on the phone and tell him about Routergate.
John Chambers, phone home.
You've heard the story by now:
In 2010, the state used $24 million in federal stimulus money to buy 1,164 Internet routers from Cisco. A legislative audit released earlier this month found that most of the routers, which cost nearly $23,000 apiece, were way too powerful for the state's needs.
In at least one case, the router is worth more than the tiny Marmet Public Library, where it was installed to handle a single Internet connection. Additionally, the routers won't even work in all but two State Police barracks because they are not compatible with the phone systems.
The state Purchasing Division, the Office of Technology and the Broadband Technology Opportunity Grant Implementation Team all bear some responsibility for this bad deal. The audit can't seem to find anyone to claim responsibility for the final say.
Sen. Joe Manchin, who was governor at the time of the deal, has mounted a half-hearted defense of the purchase, saying it was an investment for the future.
But the audit concludes that it may cost more just to service the oversized routers than the state would have paid had it bought the right routers in the first place.