I have been “blessed” with multiple engagements involving municipal agencies. Given my experiences, I am not surprised at the incidents in Atlanta and Baltimore.
With complete lack of financial motivation, practically no prospects for career advancements the only attraction the jobs in that sector could offer are stability, great benefits and relatively low stress level.
All projects of significance are typically outsourced to consultants and this is where the most significant issue is: employees are not allowed to post public reviews and feedback for the contractors.
Thus, when choosing between any engagement in private sector and that of municipal services, I will inevitably pick first. Given that I and my associates are always going beyond a call of duty, the least we are expecting from out clients is the honest and, to date, glowing reviews that help us expand our business and land new connections.
Additional issue is the bidding process required for these agencies to hire contractors for each project. While it is a common wisdom to determine the market price for the services and not to overpay for those by huge margin, if the previous relationships are established and the contractor is familiar with your infrastructure, it most likely will deliver superior services in a shorter time frame, when compared with someone engaged for a first time.
This oftentimes leads to the lack of continuity, fragmented vision of what the infrastructure and its security controls should look like, huge disparity in a skill set of consultants vs. employees and, as a result, inability to react in timely fashion to the crisis.
Every time I am leaving one of these agencies, I am doing it with mixed feelings: pride in quality and scope of the work we have completed and a conviction that it was not sufficient to keep them safe and secure.