IG: Treasury 'deficient' in TCE bidding process

Audit Report: OIG-06-028

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Poor planning and execution by Treasury Department officials delayed the Treasury Communications Enterprise contract and increased its costs, said the agency's inspector general in a Feb. 10 report.

The IG's audit report, entitled, “Major Acquisitions: Treasury Communications Enterprise Procurement Was Poorly Planned, Executed and Documented,” recommends that the department consider all available options before awarding contracts. The investigation found little consideration for many other General Service Administration contract vehicles, and it called the department's documenting of business cases "deficient."

The department should “conduct a rigorous and defendable analysis” to find the best offer, and the inspector general recommended that it should keep good records for future reviews, according to the audit report.

“I hate to say I told you so, but the IG report reveals exactly what I have been saying consistently for the last year: TCE is a disaster and ought to be abandoned,” said Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), in a release.

He called TCE “a stovepipe program” that was “far less efficient than GSA’s centrally managed acquisition infrastructure for telecom.” The government needs to work more efficiently and cost-effectively, he said, and TCE didn't do that.

Treasury had awarded the TCE contract to AT&T, but losing companies successfully protested. Treasury officials had agreed, shortly before awarding the contract, to consider moving to Networx after the initial three-year base period. The companies that protested argued that their bids had been prepared on the assumption that the agency was likely to exercise option years and keep TCE in place for 10 years.

After the protests were upheld, Davis renewed his efforts to persuade Treasury to drop TCE altogether and make use of existing contracts. In January, Davis told reporters at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that he might try to end the contract’s funding.

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