IRS changes in store

John Reece, the former industry executive who runs the Internal Revenue Service's multibillion-dollar modernization, said that the program is a "marathon" and that he expects to make changes to strengthen it.

Although he did not detail specific personnel changes, Reece did say there are plans for "some professional refreshment. We're going to rotate folks, change them around," he said in a telephone interview with Federal Computer Week.

Meanwhile, Computer Sciences Corp., the prime contractor on the agency's 15-year modernization project, brought in a new executive and reassigned the top two managers on the project a month ago. CSC officials said the company was not asked to make any personnel changes, and Reece said he didn't make a request.

Michael Plett, a seasoned program manager who has worked on many CSC projects, will run the modernization program. He'll work with Stephen Kalish, president of CSC's civil group, who has an office at the IRS to oversee the modernization effort.

Plett replaces Jim Kennedy, a CSC executive who had been the program's executive and who is taking a new job in CSC's federal sector. Dave Edmondson, the project's program manager, is returning to CSC's aerospace unit.

"I'm getting more happy with CSC's performance," Reece said. "We're going to get a lot better. This is a big program, lots of moving pieces. We're delivering stuff. We're making headway."

Nevertheless, the project continues to come under criticism. A recent report by the Treasury Department inspector general said, "To date, the IRS and the prime contractor have been overly optimistic about their timetable for delivering modernized systems, given the immaturity of their management processes."

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