Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to conduct a review as to why the National Passport Information Center in Dover lost its contract with the State Department. In a letter to the Secretary, Congresswoman Shea-Porter noted that more than 300 employees will lose their jobs in late February because of this contract change.
“Dover Call Center employees have worked faithfully and diligently for more than twelve years and it is outrageous that they are now losing their jobs,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “I am using every tool at my disposal to help reverse this decision.”
The full text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Madam Secretary:
Congratulations on your confirmation, and thank you for your continued leadership and service to our country.
I am writing because I am very concerned about a change in a Department of State contract that will adversely affect constituents in my district. AT&T Government Solutions has held a service contract agreement for a Call Center at the National Passport Information Center in Dover, NH for the past twelve years. The Center employs 300 employees. However, on Dec. 1, 2008 Peckham Industries was selected to take over this contract because of its AbilityOne status. They plan to move the Call Center and the 300 employees will lose their jobs on February 27, 2009 unless you take immediate action.
I have two major issues about this change. The first one concerns the subcontractor selection process. Please review the process that was used to choose Peckham’s subcontractor. Why did the chosen subcontractor win the contract, and what made it a better choice than the other two? The second issue concerns fulfilling the intention of the AbilityOne program. I understand and support the AbilityOne program. However, after a number of contacts with the State Department officials who were involved with this decision, I realized that the subcontractor of Peckham Industries is not required to hire the disabled and will not be monitored by either Peckham Industries or the federal government. Therefore, the very reason for taking a contract away from well trained workers is thwarted, and the State Department is throwing 300 people out of work in the process. Indeed, the local newspaper is blaming the federal government for an irrational move.
I respectfully request that you conduct a review of both the process that was undertaken in selecting the subcontractor and the second problem I cited.
Thank you for your attention to this most important issue. I look forward to your response.
Member of Congress