City Paper is not for tourists
As LL has said repeatedly, there is not evidence that former Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra was in any way directly involved in the graft that allegedly happened under his nose. But it did happen under his nose.
So here’s a question: Where was the oversight?
Kundra gave assurances that he was directly involved in the approval of procurements—-ostensibly including the Acar’s alleged falsified procurements. These assurances came in a December 2007 D.C. Council hearing held in the aftermath of the Office of Tax and Revenue scam. According to a D.C. Council committee report, “Mr. Kundra testified that his staff meets weekly to approve all procurements, regardless of size, with all relevant parties including the Program Management Officer, procurement and finance groups.”
Here’s another question: Did Kundra’s initiatives lessen the opportunity for oversight? One of Kundra’s pet projects was something called the IT Staff Augmentation Contract, where an outfit called OST Global was hired last August on a $75 million contract to quickly hire tech staff to do various jobs for OCTO.
Now the ghost-payrolling schemes detailed in the federal affidavit seem not to have been connected to ITSA; two ghost employees seem to have been placed as part of a $211,000 traditionally procured contract awarded to an Herndon outfit called Steel Cloud. But the company belonging to Sushil Bansal, charged yesterday, placed at least two employees under the new system, which has been in place since October.
Here’s what Kundra told the D.C. Council about ITSA last summer: “we made temporary IT staffing services a top priority for reform and formed a cross-functional team to find a best practice solution for the District. Over the course of the last year, 10 people researched all 50 states and found that contracts similar to the one we have developed are bringing excellent value, control, and transparency.” In June, he had assured councilmembers of “constant monitoring, oversight and random audits of both the vendor and program performance.”