Hearing set for Northrop's Virginia contract
Investigation will begin next week
- By Nick Wakeman
- Jun 23, 2009
A subcommittee of the Virginia Senate Finance Committee will hold its first meeting next week to begin looking into Northrop Grumman’s $2 billion contract with the state.
The Washington Post reported that the committee also has invited the state House Appropriations Committee to join the inquiry set to begin June 29.
The investigation stems from several deadlines Northrop has missed on the contract.
Lemuel Stewart, the state chief information officer, was let go by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency after saying he wouldn’t pay Northrop.
Questions of conflicts of interest also are being raised by state legislators because Len Pomata, the state technology secretary, has stepped in as acting CIO.
“These conflicts, while perhaps not illegal, certainly provide the appearance of impropriety,” Delegate Samuel Nixon Jr. wrote in a letter last week to the Information Technology Investment Board, which removed Stewart, the Post reported. Nixon is the House Majority Caucus chairman. He wants Pomata replaced as CIO.
James F. McGuirk II, chairman of the Information Technology Investment Board, which oversees VITA, said Stewart, who is paid $189,000 annually by the state, will remain a consultant until a permanent replacement is found this summer.
"We were not trying to sweep anything under the rug," McGuirk told the Post. "We were not unhappy with his performance. There was a disagreement on tactics."
In a statement, Northrop called the contract “a visionary, groundbreaking concept never undertaken before."
The company said it is confident that it is delivering good value and best-of-class systems. “We welcome the opportunity to address questions about our partnership with VITA,” the statement said.
Northrop Grumman is ranked No. 3 on the 2009 Washington Technology Top 100 list of the largest government contractors.
Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.