Full disclosure. I worked for Gov. Doug Burgum at Great Plains Software, and then Microsoft, 15 years ago. Also, I have other friends in the administration, and on staff in state government. I like them a lot. Might make me biased on the current “Be Legendary” logo flap. But, I really don’t have much of “a dog in this fight,” “skin in the game,” “a piece of the action,” “money on the line,” “a stake in this stock,” “a pea in this pod.” Wait. Forget that last one.
What I do have is a bit of wonderment that our legislators are spending any time at all on what I assume they imagine is “logo-gate.” This, and the “fanny pack” issue, of course. What? No fanny pack issue? Well, there could be, darn it. This is America.
Back to the logo. In my opinion, and in many others', obviously, I think we were stuck in the past with the old one (vintage 2002). It worked well for a long time. But, in so many ways, we are an exciting, vibrant, new state, and our image/brand needed a refresh. And that’s exactly what the North Dakota Commerce Department did, with the governor’s blessing. Case closed.
Oops. Not quite. According to a Bismarck Tribune story on Jan. 30, apparently one legislator, and I paraphrase here, opined that people just woke up one morning, rubbed their eyes, and there was this new logo hanging out there. OK, the “rubbed their eyes” part was me talking. In fact, as pointed out in a Feb. 5, comprehensive story on the matter, in both the Bismarck Tribune and The Forum of Fargo, the governor announced the whole brand refresh, including logo, back in October. The pros and cons were discussed then. That was before the Legislature was in session, of course. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Apparently, spending only $9,500 on the project was also an issue. For those of you who are counting, the proposed bill’s overall prize money for the logo contest was amended from $90,000 down to $9,500 for first place only. Now, I’m a former “theater major,” and admittedly, not good with numbers. But doesn’t that mean we would pay the exact same money for the new, new one? And, by the way, we got so much more for the first $9,500.
After nearly 40 years working in business, the federal government and nonprofits, I can’t recall many decisions determined by a contest. You hire or elect people you think will do the job; then let them do exactly that. If you don’t like the results, there are always choices. No one should know this better than our elected officials.
But, if it’s contests they want, here’s one just for fun. We dissolve the Legislature, but keep that every two years thingy. Then, every two years, we hold a contest for the best “legislation” we can possibly enact to make our state a better place to live. The judges will be the governor, Carson Wentz and Josh Duhamel. Wait. Diversity alert. Let’s add Sister Thomas Welder of the University of Mary. A straight shooter, if there ever was one.