Senator probes AMS contracts

The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee is questioning the contracting practices that led the Federal Thrift Retirement Investment Board to spend $36 million on a new record-keeping system from American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., and receive nothing in return.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the committee, Aug. 21 asked the board to submit all records relating to the two contracts to build the system, and a subsequent lawsuit filed by the board. Collins established the inquiry to determine where the contracting practice broke down and what can be done to improve it.

The board fired AMS after the firm had worked on the project for four years, and hired Matcom International Corp. of Alexandria, Va., to take over. The system launched in June, six years after work began and two years after Matcom took over from AMS.

In related news, the board fixed problems with the system Matcom built after discovering the settings of the telecom system and the mainframe were out of sync. The system is now handling 98 percent of all transactions.

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