Sen. Kerry calls for private vendor to manage USAJobs site

Friday - 10/28/2011, 9:35am EDT

By Jack Moore
Federal News Radio

Following the troubled launch of the revamped USAJobs.gov, the government's jobs portal, at least one lawmaker is now saying the Office of Personnel Management should have stuck with a contractor for the project.

OPM dropped contractor Monster Government Solutions from managing the site, and the agency set off re-developing it on its own. But after the launch of USAJobs 3.0 earlier this month, the new site was overwhelmed with traffic and users took to Facebook to air their frustrations with everything from erroneous search results to difficulty in creating new log-in information.

In a letter to Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), said he had concerns from the beginning that OPM should have sought a vendor "through a competitive bidding process" to manage the project.

And in the wake of repeated site glitches, Kerry said he is renewing his call for a private contractor to step in.

The site malfunctions "raise real questions about the decision to take this operation in-house, and in light of the poor transition and launch, I am renewing the recommendation for the administration to seek a vendor through a competitive bidding process to manage this service," Kerry wrote in the letter.

Monster.com, which previously managed the site, is headquartered in Massachusetts. But the problem with the USAJobs site glitches is "a bigger issue than a single constituent concern," Kerry said.

"There are many commercial firms with expertise and experience far beyond the federal government in designing and successfully managing online job websites and any number of them is better equipped to manage this service than the government," he added.

Earlier this week, OPM said the site bugs had been stabilized, citing some 1.8 million successful log-ins in the past two weeks and the declining number of "helpdesk" queries.

"We're being very proactive in responding, not only to people who reach out to our helpdesk, but also as people raise issues on social media," OPM's CIO Matthew Perry wrote in a site status report.

Kerry said he would like VanRoekel, as federal CIO, to "intervene, investigate and resolve the problems."

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