An Outbreak of Candor in North Carolina

Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 10:52 AM

By Michael Reagan

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There was an outbreak of candor last week in North Carolina that caused quite a stir. No, I’m not talking about Obamacare sign-up numbers, although the general topic is part of the story. This candor crisis came in connection with an alert sent out by the state's Department of Transportation.

The NCDOT routinely sends out Twitter and email alerts to motorists warning them of hazards that include accidents, weather reports, state troopers running radar (just kidding) and other conditions that affect travel speed and safety.

Last Wednesday Benjamin Fearnow of WTKR-TV in Charlotte reported that a NCDOT alert went out that read, “A High severity incident has been added for I-40 eastbound in Wake County in Raleigh.”

The alert continued, “Vehicle Accident: Women Drivers, Rain, Obamacare.”

The DOT then concluded with the eminently sensible advice to “Stay Home.”

You’re probably thinking it’s about time you got the straight scoop from the government! Why can’t Washington follow North Carolina’s example?

But I’m afraid your sentiments were not universally shared. Naturally, female drivers traveling at 50 MPH in the fast lane — while chatting on their cellphones — were enraged as their conversations were interrupted by this bulletin.

No doubt many of them weaved back and forth across travel lanes as they furiously texted their displeasure to the NCDOT.

Someone certainly did. Fearnow followed up with NCDOT and learned that what the station calls “the erroneous message” escaped captivity when IT types were testing the system. It appears that while the alert system functions were being analyzed, test messages were supposed to be limited to internal distribution only.

The department’s IT contractor “reportedly did not follow protocol” [when is telling the truth ever government protocol?] and the alert was mistakenly sent to an unsuspecting public. The NCDOT official statement said, “The individual violated procedures by failing to turn off the external feed while testing and for the inappropriate test message content. The contractor was let go immediately for this action.”

Now there’s a contrast, the federal government spends $500 million to design a HealthCare.dud website that doesn’t work and probably won’t ever work and no one loses their job. While this poor contractor in North Carolina tests a system that works like a charm and discovers he’s now out on his behind.

It just proves once again that speaking truth to power is just fine, as long as you control the power.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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