Treasury reopens TCE contract over lawmaker's objections

A key lawmaker is expressing serious dismay over the Treasury Department's plan to reopen its $1 billion communications procurement.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, again criticized the agency's plan to accept new submissions from the six previous bidders for the Treasury Communications Enterprise, which would provide a single, departmentwide area network?including technology, support and management?for the department's 850 locations.

Davis believes that it's "bad news for the taxpayer that Treasury [is] again moving forward with this fundamentally flawed, haphazardly planned and poorly executed acquisition," said David Marin, the committee's spokesman.

Davis strongly encouraged Treasury to stop the TCE procurement, originally awarded to AT&T Corp., and use the General Services Administration's upcoming Networx procurement, a $20 billion, 10-year contract for telecommunications services scheduled to be awarded in April 2006.

But Treasury has decided to reinstate TCE after determining that no other existing General Services Administration contract could meet its needs, said Brookly McLaughlin, a Treasury Department spokeswoman.

"Treasury will implement the recommendations in [the] Government Accountability Office's March 16 decision and will accordingly give the vendors an opportunity to submit revised proposals," McLaughlin said Friday.

After the contract was awarded last December to AT&T, five of the six losing bidders protested to the Government Accountability Office.

Besides AT&T, other bidders were Northrop Grumman Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc., Broadwing Communications LLC, Level-3 Communications Inc., MCI Inc. and Sprint Corp. Sprint did not protest the award.

GAO upheld the protests and said in March that the Treasury Department did not disclose an agreement it had with GSA and OMB to let the contract expire after three years so it could move the work to GSA's upcoming Networx procurement.

After GAO suggested Treasury rewrite the contract proposal and reopen the competition, the department in May told GAO that it intended to terminate the contract with AT&T and use GSA vehicles to purchase its wide area network communications requirements.

However, the department this week said that no current GSA vehicle fits its needs and it is reopening the competition, but only to companies that originally submitted bids.

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