SAN JOSE, CA: A scandal involving Cisco Systems has left city hall trying to cope with the city's tarnished image in the eyes of its residents.
The San Jose Mercury News and other local media have focused heavily on the scandal, centered on revelations of possible favoritism and collusion in the awarding of an $8 million contract to Cisco to install networking equipment in the new city hall. The scandal has led to the resignation of San Jose's CIO, cost overruns for the new city hall, and possible criminal investigations.
"Our larger goal has been to take a step back and make sure the public keeps its trust in the integrity of city processes," said Tom Manheim, the city's public outreach manager.
"Some of what people have read is part of the city's effort to get the story out accurately. We want to make sure the media have the real story."
Besides media outreach, San Jose also has been talking to city employees in order to help them understand what is going on, Manheim added.
The media attention has certainly raised questions in residents' minds, Manheim admitted, which is why the city is actively reaching out to residents through the media and trying to be as transparent as possible.
San Jose is also relying heavily on its city website.
"The worst thing we could do is compound the problem by seeming to hide information," Manheim said.