I'm very sorry to report that Peter Quinn, the CIO of Massachusetts who has been at the center of a controversy relating to his efforts at the Information Technology Division (ITD) to adopt the OpenDocument format for the use of the Commonwealth's Executive Agencies, has resigned [Updated 12.28.05]
[This entry was updated several times. I've since removed the internal notes identifying the updated parts, and added a new entry with additional information, which can be found here]
I'm very sorry to report that Peter Quinn, the CIO of Massachusetts who has been at the center of a controversy relating to his efforts at the Information Technology Division (ITD) to adopt the OpenDocument format for the use of the Commonwealth's Executive Agencies, has resigned, effective January 9, 2006.
According to an email that he sent on Christmas eve to the employees of the ITD, the principal reason for his resignation is his desire not to be the personal focus of controversy regarding the open format decision. The email also stresses, however, that his departure does not signal any change of policy on behalf of the ITD.
That email included the following statements, as reported by Macworld staff writer Robert McMillan on December 28:
Over the last several months, we have been through some very difficult and tumultuous times. Many of these events have been very disruptive and harmful to my personal well being, my family and many of my closest friends. This is a burden I will no longer carry....I have become a lightning rod with regard to any IT initiative. Even the smallest initiatives are being mitigated or stopped by some of the most unlikely and often uninformed parties. The last thing I can let happen is my presence be the major contributing factor in marginalizing the good work of ITD and the entire IT community.
Quinn's message also stresses that he was not forced to resign.
Both Pamela Jones at Groklaw and I received the news from Eric Kriss, who as the then Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance was Quinn's boss during most of the ODF evaluation process (the Secretary of A&F is now Thomas Trimarco).
According to Kriss, who met with Quinn on December 21st, the personal attacks, and especially the unfounded (and quickly disproven) charges publicized by the Boston Globe, played a major part in reaching his decision.
As you may recall, in a blog entry that I wrote on December 10 titled Quinn Cleared in Travel Investigation (But Will the Globe be Cleared?), I reported that I had sent a list of questions to the Globe's ombudsman, Richard Chacon. I know that many others sent email or called him as well.
On December 12 I heard back from Mr. Chacon, but to my knowledge he has not as yet publicly reported the results of his investigation. Here is the response that I initially received from him, which you may find interesting. Hopefully, Peter Quinn's resignation will lead to a formal report from Mr. Chacon in the very near future.
Greetings and many thanks for your detailed note. I think you raise some reasonable questions about the Globe's stories concerning Peter Quinn (I had many of the same ones when I read Saturday's story that he was cleared in the investigation).
I don't have immediate answers for you (or your blog readers, many of whom have sent their own similar notes after having read your page). I can tell you at the outset that Stephen Kurkjian is one of the most experienced, professional and ethical journalists that I have ever known. Nevertheless, I do believe that some of these questions deserve answers - from Steve and his editors.
I have already sent a note to Steve asking for a chance to talk about the stories. I will offer a more detailed reply when I have some answers.
[To browse all prior blog entries on this story, click here]