Somehow there are those who think it's odd that the person who owns AlphaDog Solutions, a company with six employees, based in Belleville, and that has been building government websites since 2004, was asked to submit a proposal to build a new School District website in 2013.
Thankfully we have been working on a 'Fact Check' portion of the campaign website for some time. I guess there is no better time than now to utilize it....
Just by way of background, ADS was established 14 years ago. We currently represent 19 municipalities and 25 government entities in total, including the Essex County Clerk's Office, the Bergen County Clerk's office and the State PBA. We also enjoy a stellar annual renew rate, and I speak nationally on the topic of government websites and municipal communication.
All that said, I am apparently now being labeled a crook and a thief by outside influences who use a Nutley based blog to peddle the current administration’s negative and dirty campaign. Interestingly, this same blog, who at one point I felt was raising some fair issues, has been railing against this administration for years. However, now it seems to be actively fueling the current administration’s negative and divisive smear campaign against me.
I have decided to give this made up crisis, which was created as an attempt to distract me, just about as much attention as it deserves - about 45 minutes of my time. I will not allow their smear tactics to distract my team. Please know, this Nutley based blog is NOT the sole source of facts or information. They have clear bias and an agenda. As an open government advocate, I was once optimistic toward their alleged advocacy. However, they have clearly resolved to 'take sides,' and only report a skewed version of facts that support their position or 'get' those they currently do not like. There are a host of real and valid issues they could have been reporting on; more on that to come in a section of this website to be called, 'What the Advocates Conveniently Miss.'
To that end, here is a brief outline of the events, as I recall them from 4-5 years ago...
AlphaDog was asked to give a proposal for the Belleville School District website in 2013. After an in-person meeting, a Statement of Work was written and issued. The total project cost was approximately $29K. The AlphaDog team, consisting of a project manager, web designer and graphic designer, worked on the project for months. That's three, real people, real employees collaborating. Incurring ongoing and continued operating costs, we invoiced the client for a deposit, representing 50% of the project. This was eventually paid.
Spending a few minutes today, I went back and reviewed many emails sent back and forth between my staff and the district. We produced a graphic layout of the homepage as a proposed template. After several changes, we were approved to proceed. A web developer, fourth employee, was then tasked with the responsibility of building out the website. We do not use or customize blog templates, like the current Township website for example, which BTW, they pay a freelancer, who happens to be a Belleville Board of Education Trustee $18,000/year. Rather, everything produced in our office is custom coded from either a web designer or senior developer. During this time, our project manager was in communication with the District, and supplied various punch lists of items needed and seeking to acquire further direction. Many emails and documents support this. Our staff performed as much work, as was physically possible, without the required assets and additional direction we sought from the District. Our internal server files, still contain all files, images, assets and work product. All files are dated and time stamped. Our internal office server consists of three separate directories, ADS for client files, Web for website files to publish, and Projects for specific project related assets like images, photos, etc.
This project cost the company far more than the deposit we received, and in the end, the goal was to finish the site and launch so we could bill the balance. During late 2013 and into early 2014 we still pressed on even though it was extremely difficult to communicate with the District, and numerous emails can recount this. In early 2014, a document titled, "Requested Information Not Received as of 2/10/14" was produced and issued by our project manager. The five-page document outlined the items still needed and the numerous questions that still needed answering.
In the end, the State monitor eventually terminated all open contracts including pending grant applications, and as a result, we were never able to complete and launch the site or bill the remaining balance of the invoice to recoup our costs and expenses. This was extremely disappointing, but this is the sad reality when dealing with Public entities. In an effort to salvage the project, a DVD of all files was created and delivered to the district in case they were able to complete the site in-house.
This is a brief summary of the other side of the story, which is something my opponents and their newly aligned blogger friends hoped you would never hear. Not that they are interested in the facts. I am certain the issue will now move on to something else related to this topic because these people have zero interest in the truth or the facts. The point is, my company and I have been accused of fraudulently stealing money from the District by taking payment for something we did not produce. Clearly this is entirely false. However, as I stated, I'm sure they will now use the details I have provided to spin this in a different direction. On my end, I'm moving on with my campaign for a #BetterBelleville.
Below represents a small portion of the 4+ year old data I have located: