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Thursday, Dec 7, 2023

Supervisors Near Decision on IT Provider

Barring a last-minute protest, the county’s Board of Supervisors is poised approve Computer Sciences Corp. as the contractor for its information technology needs.

The El Segundo-based CSC and its partners were selected by the county staff as the recommended vendor to supply the county with its computer and communications needs for the next seven years.

Supervisors are scheduled to vote on the recommended contractor Oct. 26.

CSC, along with Science Applications International Corp., Pacific Bell and Lucent Technologies, were deemed to provide the best proposal in terms of price, qualifications, and service, according to county Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard.

The CSC team, known as the Pennant Alliance, outscored two other teams, headed by Electronic Data Services and International Business Machines.

Outmoded Systems

The county decided last year to contract out for its computer and telecommunications with a private vendor. County officials said the current systems were fragmented, outmoded and required a massive capital outlay, all of which could be done better and more cheaply through privatization.

“Today, the tools exist to communicate faster and manage information better than ever before. But county government, acting alone, simply cannot acquire the state-of-the-art equipment and training that a private firm specializing in information systems can provide,” Ekard said.

While details of the contract were not available at press time, the estimated bid was between $500 million and $700 million over seven years with three option years, according to the county.

The county spent $98.5 million last year on all of its information technology services.

As part of the contract, the county would create a virtual government, allowing citizens to take care of certain tasks, including paying property taxes, obtaining licenses and other permits, through computers.

The contract would result in the elimination of some 300 jobs, but the contract requires the selected vendor to provide positions for those workers for a minimum of five months.

Employee labor leaders call the county’s decision a travesty, one that will end up costing taxpayers more money because of unanticipated costs that always occur in contracts with the private sector.

County officials say the contract has built-in protections and will be closely monitored by a special staff.

The four companies that make up the CSC partnership employ more than 11,000 people in the county with an annual payroll of nearly $600 million and spend about $70 million locally, according to CSC.

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