Editor's Note: Phoenix rises in Virginia

Steve LeSueur

The dream lives on.

No, I don't mean George Bush's second administration. I'm referring to statewide outsourcing.

Virginia is embarking on a bold outsourcing plan, asking vendors to propose innovative contracting approaches, such as share-in savings, for enterprisewide outsourcing initiatives. Also new ? the state is letting interested contractors review each other's proposals before submitting their final offers.

The state's technology office, which has received bids from four prime contractors, hopes to save up to $1 billion over 10 years under this plan.

Virginia is trying to buck history with its ambitious outsourcing effort.

Just six weeks ago, Florida shut down the $250 million MyFlorida Alliance outsourcing program after state officials concluded that the procurement process for the initiative was flawed. Similar large-scale efforts in Connecticut and Georgia also failed to get off the ground.

Still, the lure of improved services and large savings is too hard for Virginia to resist. And for contractors, the siren song of lucrative contracts outweighs the risks. Prime contractors CGI Group Inc., IMB Corp., Koll Development Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. each have attracted an impressive array of teammates.

"There are a bunch of states watching this like a hawk," one executive said.

And so are we. You can read the details in Staff Writer William Welsh's story in our State and Local section.

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