The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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November 16, 2013

HealthCare.gov lead developer's hires bungled other jobs

(Continued)

The report found that AMS had repeatedly missed its own deadlines, grossly overbilled travel expenses for its staff members and drafted far more software code than needed.

"The code failed system tests, and attempts to fix the errors caused further delays and increased costs,'' said the report, which also faulted the thrift board for insufficient oversight. It was one of three reviews that criticized AMS for substandard work, along with reports by the Defense Contract Management Agency and a private firm, Integrated Benefit Solutions, hired by the thrift board to review the project.

"They couldn't fix the problems because they didn't know how,'' said Stiffler, the board official, who brought in a backup contractor that completed the job on time and within budget — after throwing out more than 95 percent of AMS' software code and rewriting the rest.

In its countersuit against the U.S. government, AMS acknowledged the cost overruns and delays but blamed the board for providing unclear direction. The firm paid the board $5 million when the suits were settled in 2003.

At least four AMS employees now in senior roles at CGI worked on the thrift board project. According to company records, the head of the team responsible for developing the software for the thrift board was George Schindler, a longtime AMS executive. Separate court documents say he did not play a direct role in designing the system, but the Senate report says he served on a company committee overseeing the project. Today, Schindler runs CGI's U.S. operations, which employ 11,000 people. He headed CGI Federal when it bid for the Affordable Care Act contract and was succeeded in that post by another former AMS executive, Donna Ryan.

In a statement, Schindler said, "In the decade since Donna and I joined CGI through the AMS acquisition, CGI has applied the rigor and discipline of its operating model to the deep domain expertise that AMS brought its clients and evolved the DNA and culture — the way we go to market, our value propositions and our approach to delivery."

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