Set-Asides

IRS: Plan Prime, then spend

The Internal Revenue Service has put a tight grip on the purse strings for its multibillion-dollar project to modernize the agency's computer systems.

Al Mazei, assistant commissioner of the IRS' Program Management and Architecture Office, said money set aside for the project will not be spent until he, other top IRS executives, the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office, the Treasury Department and Congress are confident that everyone has a common strategy to develop and deploy the new systems.

Mazei, who spoke at the National Press Building, said he and his staff are still working out kinks in the planning process, which sometimes involves sending IRS staff members back to the drawing board to find solutions to unanswered questions.

"We will not be spending any money any time soon,'' Mazei said. "I am [going to spend] this money like it is my own."

Last year the IRS selected a team headed by Computer Sciences Corp. to work in a multiple-year partnership with the agency on its Prime Systems Integration Services Contract, called Prime.

"The IRS has gone through many modernization projects,'' Mazei said. "In order for us to do it properly, CSC deserves the best from us, so we picked out talent from the agency to join the team. This is our last chance to do it right."

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OMB sets new Y2K deadlines

A top administrator at the Office of Management and Budget last week told a House subcommittee that federal agencies had until April 15 to submit a schedule of how agencies will help states that use computers to run federal programs develop Year 2000 contingency plans.

Deidre Lee, acting deputy director at OMB, also said that by May 15 federal agencies with mission-critical systems that are not compliant will have to submit monthly progress reports to OMB that include a timetable for completing the work.

Federal agencies are expected to submit business continuity and contingency plans by June 15, according to Lee, who testified before a joint hearing of the Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee and the Technology Subcommittee.

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