March 29, 2010
TALLAHASSEE - “Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) applauds Senators JD Alexander and Dave Aronberg who have raised legitimate questions about a company that has generated controversy for several years over its handling of the State of Florida’s troubled “People First” human resources system. Convergys recently sold off the division that manages the state’s HR work to a foreign-owned entity – NorthgateArinso. What makes this so egregious is the State of Florida had no prior knowledge about the transaction until it was made public.
“This privatized contract already has been riddled with controversy and for years has been criticized for a lack of accountability. What is even more troubling is that the State Department of Management Services (DMS) recently granted Convergys a five-year contract extension worth more than $200 million despite all of these problems. And, when DMS considered opening up the bid process they chose not to, instead, opting to embrace a consultant’s recommendation to extend the contract.
“I firmly believe a transparent and competitive bid process would serve the state well resulting in better outputs, products, contract terms, and most important – even more cost savings for Florida’s taxpayers.
“Awarding the contract to a foreign-based firm with no previous business experience in the State of Florida or any government agency in the U.S. is not in the best interest of our citizens, the Florida business community or the state workers who must use the People First system. In these turbulent economic times, every agency of the State of Florida should search for ways to strike a better deal and realize savings for Floridians.
“With that in mind, AIF urges DMS to rescind the contract extension before additional economic damage is brought on the people and businesses of this state.”