County close to $644 million outsourcing deal

In what would be the largest technology outsourcing pact among local governments, San Diego County is close to awarding Computer Sciences Corp. a $644 million contract to take responsibility for managing the county's computer and telephone systems.

By updating its systems, the county expects the deal to lay the groundwork for making more information and services available online.

"Once our new systems are in place, citizens will no longer be forced to conform to our hours and drive to our offices to conduct business within the county," San Diego County chief administrative officer Walt Ekard said. Ekard plans to recommend the deal to the county's Board of Supervisors on Oct. 26.

The contract calls for a complete "technology refresh" during the life of the contract, with every desktop computer used by county employees being replaced within 36 months of the contract's approval and again within the next 48 months. All telephones will be replaced within the first year.

Under the contract, CSC, which partnered with San Diego-based Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), Pacific Bell and Lucent Technologies, would also run San Diego County's data centers and networks and provide user support, security management and other functions.

The proposal will affect about 290 county employees who will have the option of transitioning to the vendor and are guaranteed two years of employment in San Diego with CSC or SAIC. Employees who choose not to move have the option of receiving 20 percent of their annual salary as severance pay or two years credit toward retirement.

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