Management

Treasury IT under scrutiny

Shutterstock image (by adirekjob): magnifying glass resting over a missing puzzle piece.

(Image: Adirekjob / Shutterstock)

The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee want answers from Treasury CIO Sonny Bhagowalia about conflicting status reports on several IRS IT projects.

In a letter to Bhagowalia, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) want to know why seven IT projects tagged as risky or in trouble by IRS IT leaders were tabbed as green on the IT Dashboard maintained by the Office of Management and Budget.

According to a Government Accountability Office report released in February, IRS CTO Terry Milholland classified three major IT projects as red, or trouble, and four as yellow, or at risk, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. Those seven projects carry costs of $1.4 billion for the current fiscal year.

Johnson and Carper, respectively the chairman and ranking member of the committee, are concerned by the "clear discrepancy between the information reported by Treasury to the IT Dashboard and the ratings provided to Congress by the IRS," they wrote in the April 20 letter. The senators are asking Bhagowalia to explain discrepancies in the ratings, explain the extent to which the Treasury CIO taps the component technology executives in making risk assessments for the Dashboard, and why no major IT projects at Treasury are tabbed as red and only four are tabbed as yellow on the Dashboard. The committee gave Bhagowalia until May 9 to reply.

The IT Dashboard "has the potential to be a valuable tool in identifying and mitigating risk before taxpayer dollars are wasted," Johnson said in a statement. "Yet this tool is only useful if the information it provides is accurate and up to date."

Separately, the federal CIO Council announced that it was making more-granular metrics used to rate agency performance in PortfolioStat IT reviews available on the IT Dashboard. For the first quarter of fiscal 2015, Treasury missed targets for delivering IT budget on schedule, with just 69 percent of projects coming in within 10 percent of projected costs. Treasury scored better on meeting schedule goals, with 81 percent of projects coming in on time. The OMB target is 80 percent.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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