Collins to question TSP

The Thrift Savings Plan's Web site problems will be the subject of a Senate hearing.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, announced that she will investigate the system's original contract. The effort, which cost $36 million between 1997 and 2001, did not result in a system upgrade. "That's an example of wasteful spending that should never be repeated," Collins said in a press release.

The board terminated that contract with American Management Systems Inc. and hired a new contractor to build the system unveiled in June.

During the two months of debugging the new system, the biggest problems were related to a faulty data communications link between the mainframe and the front-end communications system. But other bugs appeared, and the telephone system was swamped with as many as 100,000 calls in a single day.

An estimated 2,000 to 4,000 TSP participants still have account problems related to the changeover, said Gary Amelio, executive director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the federal agency that administers the plan. Most of those problems will be fixed in four to six weeks, he said. Amelio said he could not promise that problems might not recur but added that the system is working well fundamentally.

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