Collins to question TSP

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

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, announced that she will investigate the TSP's contract for upgrading its computer systems and online interface for users. 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. The TSP's board terminated its contract with American Management Systems Inc. and hired a new contractor to build the system that was 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 Thirft Investment Board. Most of those problems will be fixed by early October, he said. He said he could not promise that they would not recur, but the system is working well fundamentally.

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