Workforce board asks state agency to probe ETCOG procurement

Workforce board asks state agency to probe ETCOG procurement

KILGORE (KYTX) - A governing body for Workforce Solutions East Texas has asked a state agency to look into whether a procurement for its Internet technology services was ethical and above board.

In a 4-1 vote, WSET's Finance and Audit Committee decided it will request bids for a new Internet Communications Technology contractor. For now, Rockwall-based TH Enterprises is handling I-T services for Workforce Solutions East Texas and its workforce centers in 14 counties, including Smith and Gregg.

East Texas Council of Governments procured a contract with TH Enterprises, and in April 2013, Executive Director David Cleveland asked TH Enterprises to fix IT problems at the workforce centers because of slow processing issues.

"When it takes 15 minutes to process a five-second transaction, we're in trouble," Cleveland told the committee.

Finance and Audit Committee Chairman Rusty Basham, of Rains County, says the committee wasn't told about the procurement.

Workforce Solutions East Texas is funded almost exclusively by federal and state grants, and Basham says those grants come with rigid requirements, so he believes the board should have been told about the procurement. The committee's meeting Monday in Kilgore was the first in more than a year, and Cleveland says committee members historically have not asked questions about the matter.

Basham says he's asked the Texas Workforce Commission in Austin to look into the matter to ensure that the procurement met all legal requirements. Meanwhile, the committee wants to procure a new I-T contractor by November 1.

I-T services account for about $300,000 of Workforce Solutions East Texas' annual budget.

"That's a significant piece of the Workforce's money, and I think that we ought to go out for a new contract," Basham says.


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