Oklahoma taxpayers may be paying inflated rates on contracts that
are outsourced to companies outside the United States for pennies on
the dollar, giving massive profits to the original vendor,
legislators were told Monday.
We've got to figure out who our subcontractors are, said Trish
Frazier, senior government relations coordinator for policy and
agency affairs at the Oklahoma Public Employees Association. Because
you really don't know if we have any more subcontractors that are
international at this point, because no one knows who our
The issue of state government outsourcing first received
attention when it was learned the Oklahoma Department of Human
Services was utilizing a call center in India to handle the food
stamp program, officials told members of the House Governmental
Operations and Agency Oversight Committee.
Lisa Henley, project director for DHS, said the agency contracted
its food stamp program with Affiliated Computer Services, which then
subcontracted with J.P. Morgan. About the time the subcontract was
let, J.P. Morgan moved its call centers from Florida to India.
She said the contract does not expire until March 2006.
State Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City, and several other
officials at the meeting said the use of vendors overseas could
create a wide range of problems for Oklahoma government. Somebody in
India doesn't have a clue about what's going on in Bugtussle,
Oklahoma, Lindley said.
Henley said the India call centers employed by DHS handle simple
inquiries and do not deal with benefit requests for the food stamp
But Lindley said his constituents have indicated there are
problems getting information from the India call center due to
language barriers. I've had a number of folks in my district say
they have to hang up and call back, he said.
Frazier also suggested other problems could occur due to the
transmission of sensitive data outside U.S. borders.
Prosecuting identity theft across national lines would be kind of
difficult, she said.
However, Henley said there have been no reports of identity theft
as the result of DHS contracts that are handled overseas, even
though those vendors may handle more than 200,000 cases per month.
Tom Jaworsky, state purchasing director at the Department of
Central Services, said only $3.5 million out of $650 million in
state contracts are awarded directly to entities based outside the
United States. However, he said state officials do not know how many
overseas vendors have been employed as the result of subcontracting. …