IG: Treasury should consider scrapping TCE procurement

The Treasury Department's standalone telecommunications vehicle was poorly conceived and disorganized from the start, resulting in missed deadlines and increased costs, according to the agency's inspector general.

In a new report, Treasury's IG said the agency should consider all its options'including foregoing the contract'before issuing the controversial Treasury Communications Enterprise solicitation this spring.

'The approach taken should be thoroughly documented to support the decisions made and evidence approval by senior management,' the IG said. 'Appropriate consideration should be made with [the Office of Management and Budget] and congressional stakeholders about the decision made, with any concerns they may raise being fully and carefully considered.'

And in case there was any doubt, House Government Reform Committee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.), who has urged Treasury to cancel the contract and wait until the General Services Administration finalizes its governmentwide Networx deal, said the report proves that TCE should be scrapped.

'I hate to say I told you so, but the IG report reveals exactly what I have been saying consistently for the last year: TCE is a disaster and ought to be abandoned before Treasury wastes more precious taxpayer funds,' Davis said.

Treasury decided to award the $1 billion, 10-year TCE departmentwide contract instead of waiting for Networx to become available. Bidders last year successfully protested the original TCE award to AT&T Corp. Treasury is expected to re-award the contract this spring.

Davis earlier this month threatened to subpoena agency officials to discuss the contract, and in January he said he may try to cut TCE funds in Congress, if necessary.

In its report, the IG said Treasury provided poorly documented business cases for TCE and did not adequately investigate whether other GSA contracts would provide a better approach.

'Treasury's poor planning and execution of the TCE procurement led to delays and increased costs,' the report said. 'Specifically, we found that Treasury's consideration of GSA contract vehicles ' was incomplete and that the business case documentation provided by Treasury, both during and after completion of our fieldwork, was deficient.'

Also, the IG report said that the agency could not demonstrate how it arrived at the $1 billion cost estimate and that the 800-plus pages of additional documentation provided to the IG late in the audit process 'were neither cohesive, comprehensive, nor complete.'

Treasury officials said they agreed with the report, and the IG said their response 'acknowledges that our report identifies legitimate concerns about the completeness and lack of organization' surrounding the TCE procurement process.

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