Doan pushes Treasury to end TCE

Lurita Doan, administrator at the General Services Administration, is pressing officials at the Treasury Department to abandon plans to award their own departmentwide telecommunications contract rather than using GSA's forthcoming Networx program.

By taking away potential business from the governmentwide Networx contracts, the Treasury Communications Enterprise program is making it difficult for GSA to get the best available prices for other agencies, said Doan, speaking Sept. 27 at a National Chamber Foundation event.

Doan said she believes it is not in the best interest of Treasury or taxpayers to stand up a stovepipe procurement.

Doan said she and Treasury officials have met to discuss the issue, and they have traded letters and position papers. She has also met with the Office of Management and Budget to discuss it.

This is not the first time TCE has been at the center of controversy. A Treasury Inspector General audit in February found TCE deficient. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), an opponent of Treasury’s desire to create its own contract rather than use existing vehicles and Networx, told reporters in January that he might try to end the contract’s funding.

In 2005, Treasury officials ended the TCE procurement, terminating the deal with AT&T and pledging to use GSA contracts, only to reverse their decision several months later.

But Doan has revived the issue, making a case for more streamlined procurement. She has asked Treasury to issue a bridge contract to its existing TCE vendors through March 2007, when GSA is set to award its Networx contract. Once awarded, the contract would allow Treasury two months to move to a Networx provider.

She said the transition is not as difficult as Treasury envisions it. She said GSA will make multiple awards under Networx, “and as we all know, there are not that many telecom entities within the United States.”

It is likely that one of TCE’s providers will be on the Networx contract, Doan said.

Doan said the discussions with Treasury officials have not made a lot of progress, but “I will continue to fight,” she said.

“It’s simply whether they have the willingness to [do] what is in the best interest of the American taxpayer,” she said.

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