The Division of Administration (DOA) on Friday issued a new request for proposals (RFP) for the consolidation of the information technology (IT) departments of 20 departments within the state’s Executive Branch. http://wwwprd1.doa.louisiana.gov/OSP/LaPAC/agency/pdf/5479100.pdf
July 12 is the deadline for submissions and Aug. 16 is the target date to announce the awarding of the contract, tentatively set to begin on Aug. 30, according to the RFP.
This is sure to be yet another contract to be awarded to some company who will in all likelihood underbid the cost and come back later with expensive contract amendments like F.A. Richard and Associates (FARA) with the Office of Risk Management and CNSI with the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) to mention two that come quickly to mind.
But even more important, it appears that possibly hundreds—maybe more than 1,000—of state IT employees will be losing their jobs as a result of the new contract which probably will end up costing the state more money than the current in-house IT systems.
The Office of Information Services (OIS) is responsible for the development, implementation and support of the Integrated Statewide Information System (ISIS) application as well as the DOA programmatic and desktop application, including traditional application development of large complex systems run on the DOA mainframe, client service applications run on midrange computers and Web-based applications.
Remember when Carol Steckel tried to fire 69 IT employees and to contract out DHH’s Center for Health Care Innovation and Technology services to the University of New Orleans?
In that case, she got a little ahead of herself by holding a conference call with the IT employees last December to announce that their jobs would be gone in January. The employees returned to their work stations after that call only to find they had been locked out of their computers. These were the employees who, among other things, help other state employees with their computer problems.
After the Civil Service Commission, in a rare moment of lucidity, denied Steckel’s layoff plan because of insufficient information, UNO backed out of its agreement to take over the agency’s IT services.
An IT employee with DHH’s Center for Health Care Innovation and Technology wrote LouisianaVoice that employees had been misinformed on future employment by DHH executives on three separate occasions. “At each meeting, we felt as though we were being threatened with furlough without pay, having to pay 100 percent of COBRA to maintain our insurance, (and) being threatened (with) not receiving our 300 hours of saved annual leave,” the employee wrote.
In March, Jan Cassidy, sister-in-law of Congressman Bill Cassidy, was hired to head DOA’s Procurement and Technology section at a salary of $150,000 per year, prompting one observer to ask, “What is she going to procure? The state is broke and there’s an expenditure freeze.”
Apparently we will be getting the answer to that question when the proposals start coming in from vendors and a contract is awarded.
Jan Cassidy previously worked for Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) for 20 months, from June 2009 to January 2011 and for 23 months, from January 2011 to November 2012, for Xerox after Xerox purchased ACS.
As Xerox Vice President—State of Louisiana Client Executive, her tenure was during a time that the company held two large contracts with the state.
The first was a $20 million contract with DHH that ran from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011 and paid Xerox $834,000 per month.
The second contract was for $74.5 million, 100 percent of which was funded by a federal community development block grant (remember how Jindal abhors federal money?) and which ran from March 27, 2009 to March 26, 2012 and required ACS/Xerox to administer a small rental property program to help hurricane damaged parishes recover rental units.
A state contract data base search by LouisianaVoice turned up four contracts with ACS totaling $45.55 million and campaign finance reports revealed three ACS political contributions totaling $10,000 to Gov. Bobby Jindal.
In Texas, an ACS contract awarded by the Rick Perry administration quadrupled to $1.4 billion as Texas Medicaid spent more on braces in 2010 ($184 million) than the other 49 states combined but which an audit found that 90 percent of the reimbursements were not covered by Medicaid.
The Wall Street Journal said statewide fraud reached hundreds of millions of dollars as ACS spent more than $6.9 million lobbying Texas politicians from 2002 to 2012.
In June of 2007, ACS agreed to pay the federal government $2.6 million to settle allegations that it had submitted inflated charges for services provided through the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Labor and Health and Human Services by submitted inflated claims to a local agency that delivered services to workers using funds provided by the three federal agencies.
In Washington, D.C. the Department of Motor Vehicles reimbursed $17.8 million to persons wrongly given parking tickets. The contract that operated the District’s ticket processing was ACS.
In 2010, ACS settled charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had backdated stock option grants to its officers and employees.
In Alabama, Steckel, then director of the state Medicaid agency, awarded a $3.7 million contract to ACS in 2007 even though the ACS bid was $500,000 more than the next bid. ACS, of course, had a decided edge in getting that contract: it hired Alabama Gov. Bob Riley’s former chief of staff Toby Roth. And Steckel, of course came to Louisiana to work for DHH though she still maintained her residence—and, apparently, her vehicle registration—in Alabama. http://www.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2007/8/22/Alabama-Contract-for-Medicaid-Database-Sparks-Controversy.aspx
Steckel first said the proposed contract with UNO would save DHH $2.1 million over three years but later revised that figure upward to $7 million, prompting members of the Civil Service Commission to express “zero confidence” in her figures and to reject her layoff plan.
Jan Cassidy also worked for 19 years, from 1986 to 2005, for Unisys Corp. where she led a team of sales professionals marketing hardware and systems applications, “as well as consulting services to Louisiana State Government,” according to her website.
Unisys had five separate state contracts from 2002 to 2009 totaling $53.9 million, the largest of which ($21 million) was with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and which was originally signed to run from April 1, 2008, through Nov. 30, 2009, but which State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson cancelled in April of 2009, saying he was dissatisfied with the work and that his staff could complete the project.
That contract called for an upgrade to the state computer system that dealt with driver’s licenses, vehicle titles and other related issues within the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.
Altogether, the 23 agencies account for 1,158 IT employees who stand to lose their jobs with the awarding of a contract for the consolidation.
The agencies and the number of filled positions to be affected are as follows:
• Executive: 275;
• Public Safety: 142;
• Children and Family Services: 120;
• Transportation and Development: 111;
• Health and Hospitals: 62;
• Revenue and Taxation: 88;
• Retirement Systems: 58;
• Workforce Commission (formerly Labor): 45;
• Civil Service: 8;
• Agriculture: 13;
• Corrections: 39;
• Economic Development: 3;
• Education: 44;
• Environmental Quality: 29;
• Insurance: 8;
• Natural Resources: 30;
• State: 25;
• Treasury: 3;
• Wildlife and Fisheries: 24;
• Culture, Recreation and Tourism: 14;
• Juvenile Justice 5;
• Public Service Commission; 7;
Given problems and cost overruns in other states, there have to be concerns over similar problems or questions whether there even is a company out there willing to submit a proposal that has not gotten contracts under questionable circumstances or which found it necessary to come back later for costly contract amendments.
In the movie Saving Private Ryan, the operative term was FUBAR. In administration Jindal, the concern should be whether or not we might be headed for another CNSI or ACS/Xerox scenario.