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Major League Baseball Should Not Be In Bed With UNICEF On #Haiti

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 12:23 PM, under

Earlier I wrote about some technical/design issues with the web site. But there was something else on the web site home page that made the my hair stand on end. They have officially teamed up with UNICEF to provide assistance to Haiti.

Don't get me wrong, we all need to be donating as much as possible for Haitian relief. But Major League Baseball (MLB) should NOT be teaming with an organization laced with fraud, waste and abuse, paid for with donated money.

Want an agregious example? Ann Veneman, the director of UNICEF, is forcing the agency to spend US$5.8 Million of DONATED money to migrate from an email system that was donated by IBM, and by all reports meets or exceeds the needs of UNICEF staff around the world to a new one, because she did not like the one on her computer desktop:

"When Ann Veneman came to UNICEF in 2005, the first thing she complained about was her e-mail; “why aren’t we using Outlook? I want us to move to Microsoft.” For the last four years she has been pressing the IT division to migrate from IBM Lotus Notes application to the Microsoft environment to which she was accustomed while working with an US Government agency.

Ann Veneman fired her first IT director in 2006 giving him the golden hand-shake, and then personally involved in selecting the new CIO who was familiar with Microsoft Office Suite. As soon as the new CIO joined UNICEF in the summer of 2007 she pressed him to migrate into the Microsoft environment. It was supposed to happen over a year ago…..He has just gotten his two year contract extended on the condition that he would finally deliver on the commitment made to introduce Outlook."

(Read more about this whistleblower email from within UNICEF, as well as this reaction from a colleague across the pond).

MLB could have and should have done better due diligence to find better relief agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to provide much needed relief to the Haitian people. But then again, no one has ever accused Bud Selig of making sound, conflict of interest free, decisions.

Disclaimer: I work extensively with IBM Lotus software as an IBM Business Partner. But this opinion has nothing to do with this, as I have consistently written and said at conferences that there is absolutely no compelling reason to switch from one e-mail platform to another, regardless of hat is in place. Rather, this point of view is from the time I worked in procurement at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and saw the fraud, waste and abuse in relief "aid" every day.

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