This article highlights how inefficient MnSCU is. It highlights MnSCU’s secret $2,000,000 contract with McKinsey Consulting. It also highlights the lengths that McKinsey went to to hide what they did for that $2,000,000.

In December, MnSCU sought “change management” proposals from consulting companies. The system received two, which it recently released.

Accenture offered to “make the initial investment” of six weeks of services worth $500,000. Then, the company and MnSCU would agree on payments based in part of results the company delivers over two years, such as securing outside funding for the initiative. The hourly pay for employees was the only redacted part of that proposal.

Accenture, headquartered in Ireland, declined to comment.

In the McKinsey proposal, most of the 133 pages were blacked out as trade secrets, including information about past projects, employee bios and a section that starts, “McKinsey is the best partner for MnSCU because of our …” Experts on the state Government Data Practices Act such as former state information policy director Don Gemberling said “there’s no way” so much of McKinsey’s proposal fits the state’s narrow definition of a trade secret.

Saying that the contrast between Accenture an McKinsey is stark is understatement. Accenture’s proposal wasn’t redacted. McKinsey’s proposal was almost totally redacted.

Because McKinsey insisted on this high level of secrecy, it’s difficult trusting them. McKinsey’s actions suggest that they’re hiding things that taxpayers have a right to know. That isn’t the only thing that’s troublesome about McKinsey’s actions:

But Bonoff, D-Minnetonka, said she came out of her meeting with Rosenstone and Welsh convinced McKinsey provided worthwhile support — and MnSCU learned a lesson about transparency.

“I left pretty pleased,” she said. “I felt they were on to something and the chancellor is doing his best to let the change happen from within.”

Apparently, it didn’t take much to please Sen. Bonoff. Did Sen. Bonoff learn what McKinsey did to earn their $2,000,000? If she did, then it’s her responsibility to publish a report detailing McKinsey’s actions that justify their extravagant pay. If Sen. Bonoff just issues this statement, then people are left wondering if she’s just playing the role of PR flack or if McKinsey actually earned their money.

In fact, regardless of whether Sen. Bonoff publishes a report on her meetings, MnSCU owes Minnesotans a detailed report on the special insights McKinsey brought to the table. If Prof. Dean Frost is right, McKinsey was vastly overpaid:

Dean Frost, a professor at Bemidji State University and a former management consultant who reviewed some of the documents McKinsey produced, said the playbooks feature general, common-sense instructions on conducting a task force. He said the supporting research mostly includes publicly available materials rather than reports generated specially for MnSCU.

Without a detailed report from MnSCU outlining McKinsey’s work, Minnesotans should think that MnSCU ripped them off by spending $2,000,000 on a product they could’ve done themselves.

Chancellor Rosenstone should be brought before the House and Senate higher ed committees to explain why he signed off on spending $2,000,000 this foolishly. Further, he should be specifically asked why he agreed to such a secretive contract. This is the public’s money. They have the right to know how their money is spent. Rosenstone should be asked which management skills McKinsey brought to the project. Additionally, he should be askd why he still hasn’t released the unredacted contract. Finally, he should be questioned why he hasn’t put a high priority on being transparent.

Sen. Bonoff said that she’s “pretty pleased” with what McKinsey brought to the table, though she didn’t say what impressed her. That’s pretty flimsy. Still, it’s better than Rep. Pelowski sitting silent on the subject.

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