A $50 billion federal telecom contract has been opened up to delays and wasteful spending because of the lack of uniform oversight, according to a recent GSA inspector general audit of the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract.
The EIS contract is designed to replace the expiring Networx telecommunications contract, which went nearly three years over its own transition timeline and lost the government approximately $400 million in savings. Now, because the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service failed to properly implement interagency agreements for the EIS transition task order, the Networx successor could experience its own management issues.
“FAS has not executed interagency agreements with transitioning agencies for the services being provided under the [Transition Ordering Assistance] task order. As a result, FAS is at risk for disputes over contract oversight responsibilities, which may lead to waste of taxpayer dollars and delays in the EIS transition,” Sonya D. Panzo, GSA’s associate deputy assistant inspector general, wrote in a letter to the FAS commissioner.
According to the letter, federal acquisition regulations require that the servicing agency, in this case GSA, and the requesting agency sign an interagency agreement that establishes the general terms and conditions in the relationship between the participating parties before soliciting a TOA task order.
The TOA for EIS was awarded in September 2016 and, according to an IG audit of the transition, customer agencies have received almost $9 million in support services without required interagency agreements in place.
“In discussions, FAS officials acknowledged that the lack of interagency agreements poses a risk to the administration of the task order and that having these agreements in place is a sound business practice. They stated that they proceeded without executed interagency agreements in order to meet transition deadlines,” Panzo wrote.
“However, attempting to meet these deadlines does not absolve FAS of its responsibility to have properly executed interagency agreements that clearly outline each agency’s responsibilities.”
In response, FAS Commissioner Alan B. Thomas, Jr. agreed with the IG’s assessments and said that his agency plans to have agencies execute signed interagency agreements by Jan. 31, 2018.
Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.