Saturday, January 22, 2011

Questions for Calvin Williams Jr. on Guilford County's Website Deal

Mr. Williams,

“Alston denies bringing the company, XMG Online, to the county or helping it win the contract. Alston said he does know XMG CEO Calvin Williams Jr., who went to Dudley High with Alston’s son. Alston also serves with Williams on a board at N.C. A&T.”

Who nominated you for a board appointment at A&T?

Please detail your website programming credentials.

“Williams said he decided to call Alston, not because he wanted Alston to exercise influence on his behalf, but because he thought he should go straight to the top."

Please specify the entirety of your relationship
with Commissioner’s Chairman Alston.

Please state for the record whether or not your have ever called Mr. Alston
your personal “mentor”.

If you deny referring to Mr. Alston as your mentor,
please offer an explanation of why more than one person, from more than one source,
would lie about you saying you said so.

How did you become aware of the Chamber of Commerce business?

“Information Systems Director Barbara Weaver said Williams got the contract because people in her department liked his Web design and he impressed them in a meeting in October 2009.”

What “people” referring to what design?

What led to the initial meeting with Barbara Weaver?

Were any members of the Information Systems department aware
of your relationship with Skip Alston?

Have you had any interaction with the County Manager?

““The way we billed our project was in phases and milestones,” Williams said. “They only paid us for portions they received that were acceptable to them.””

“Williams said Alston arranged a meeting at which it was agreed that XMG would get one more week to finish the project."
.
What were Mr. Alston's reasons for providing more time?
.
If it couldn’t, the company would take its payments to that point and turn over what had been completed. “We weren’t able to complete the content-management system,” Williams said. “But we gave them what we did complete.””

If Guilford County only paid for portions “acceptable to them,”
why do the preceding two passages contradict each other,
and why is there a billing dispute?

“We never thought we would be loading hundreds of pages of content for them after we built it,” he said. “But we realized that was what they expected. Our expectations were different.”

Who are “we”?

Would you be willing to submit to a polygraph
concerning questions on your business dealings with Guilford County?

George Hartzman
Emailed to inbox@xmgonline.com

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13 comments:

Darryl Burnside said...

good questions

Don Moore said...

George, we shouldn't fault Calvin for seeing a Sucker in the Guilford County IT Department. From what I can see, the entire issue falls on the County. They failed to follow standard procedures for whatever reason.

XMG Online did a $32K job for the county that "everyone" was happy with. Then the County asked for more and that's where it went wrong.

The County should have put the job out for Bid and clearly define the scope of work. Apparently none of that was done. Williams was fortunate that he was paid for the work he had done as it appears the County IT Staff circumvented the purchase order process.

George Hartzman said...

Don,

You may be correct.

G

Calvin Williams, Jr. of XMG Online said...

George,

Thank you for taking the time to ask these questions. I welcome your questions and any others. I would like to provide the details needed so we can all move forward in this situation. Due to character limitations, I am going to split this into 4 parts.


Part 1:
Answers to Questions:

1. Who nominated you for a board appointment at A&T?
A. I was first appointed to the Board of Trustees in a ex officio role in 2004 - 2005 when I was voted Student Body President by the students of North Carolina A&T. Commissioner Alston did not serve on that board with me.

The Board in question is the ICEEB (Interdisciplinary Center for Entrepreneurship and E-Business) Board within the School of Business at NCA&T. I was nominated to that Board by the organizer, Dr. Thaddeus McEwen, a past professor in 2005. I stayed on that board until last year when I resigned to dedicate more time to my company and future academic aspirations.

2. Please detail your website programming credentials.
A. I began programming when I was 12 years old. I learned how to make basic websites through a WYSIWYG browser called Netscape. I began making websites for friends and my local church. Then in high school, I took AP Classes and learned C++. When I applied to NCAT, my AP credit transferred and I skipped several classes, so I have always been a geek. My programming languages are HTML, XHTML, CSS, PHP, Perl, C++, Flash Dev, and many others. When I started my company in 2004, I realized that it would be best not to be the best programmer at my company. Therefore, I began to develop relationships and acquire some of the top talent that I could find.

3. Please specify the entirety of your relationship with Commissioner’s Chairman Alston.
A. The relationship between Commissioner Chairman Alston and I pertains only to the ICEEB Board, with no exceptions.

4. Please state for the record whether or not your have ever called Mr. Alston your personal “mentor”.
A. My definition of a personal "mentor" is an individual who invests time with a mentee, examines their progress, sees opportunities and helps them achieve them, and corrects them when they make mistakes. By my definition of a mentor, Commissioner Alston and I neither have nor have we had that type of relationship.

Calvin Williams, Jr. of XMG Online said...

Part 3:

9. Were any members of the Information Systems department aware
of your relationship with Skip Alston?
A. I believe this was clarified in a prior question.

10. Have you had any interaction with the County Manager?
A. The County Manager was involved in one or two design presentation meetings where the County approved our work.

11. What were Mr. Alston's reasons for providing more time?
A. During the contract, we spent many man hours of work that were outside the scope of the contract (moving content, re-naming PDFs, etc), therefore we requested more time to work on the actual programming of the project.


12. If Guilford County only paid for portions “acceptable to them,” why do the preceding two passages contradict each other, and why is there a billing dispute?
A. There is not a billing dispute but a misunderstanding of the scope of the project. During the course of the project, we spent many hours working on requests that were outside the original scope of the project (moving content, reformatting content, and re-naming PDFs). Therefore, the deadline of the contract was extended. When it became apparent to both parties that we were not going in the direction we wanted to, we agreed to close the project. Deliver the work that was completed to date and not bill for the remaining portion of the purchase order.

13. Who are “we”?
A. We is XMG.

14. Would you be willing to submit to a polygraph concerning questions on your business dealings with Guilford County?
A. I have no problem submitting a polygraph.

Calvin Williams, Jr. of XMG Online said...

Although mixed up, I was able to condense my answers to 3 comments. Just wanted to provide that closing detail.

Calvin Williams, Jr. of XMG Online said...

Allow me to answer this question in greater detail.

13. Who are "we"?
A. "We" are the individuals that make up XMG. In this project, we had a project manager, creative director, lead developer, and designer working actively on the project.

Beau said...

If as you say everything was hunky-dorey when you turned it over to Guilford County then what were all the "system bugs" the News & Record referenced? Beau

George Hartzman said...

Disclosure:

Italked to mr. Williams this afternoon, and found him to be credible on the phone.

It was the first time we have ever spoken.

Mr williams put his contact info out and would engage any question asked with detailed clarity.

Gh

George Hartzman said...

Legit question beau.

Calvin Williams, Jr. of XMG Online said...

Beau,

Thank you for your questions. If I do not respond in a timely fashion please feel free to contact me directly through my company website, email, or phone.

I did not say that everything was hunky-dorey when we turned over our code to Guilford County. I said that we delivered the source code that we completed to date and that we did not seek to collect the final payment of the purchase order. It was an unfinished purchased order.

George Hartzman said...

"Objectivity without transparency increasingly will look like arrogance.

And then foolishness.

Why should we trust what one person…insists is true
when we instead could have a web of evidence, ideas, and argument?

..transparency is the new objectivity"

David Weinberger

George Hartzman said...

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

Aldous Huxley

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