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GSA ‘Improperly’ Offered Email Services to Peace Corps for Free

Lukiyanova Natalia / frenta/Shutterstock.com

The Peace Corps piloted the General Services Administration’s email service for free, but GSA did not have the authority to offer the technology under those terms, a new audit found.

GSA “improperly” structured an email pilot program as a “shared service,” but did not have approval from the Office of Management and Budget to provide it at no cost to another government agency, according to the audit from GSA’s Office of the Inspector General.

The program cost GSA at least $25,000, the audit says. The OIG recommends GSA establish clearer policies about IT pilot program agreements, and that “shared services” should obtain OMB approval before they’re provided to other agencies.

The Peace Corps’ email pilot program began in 2014, under which it received cloud services and applications such as email, document storage and management, calendars and other collaborative tools, the audit said.

For about six months, GSA was providing cloud email services to the Peace Corps without a finalized agreement on licensing and payment terms, according to the audit. It also gave the agency hundreds of cloud computing licenses without getting explicit authority to do so from the cloud services provider, the OIG says.

By the time the Peace Corps’ cloud pilot ended in May 2015, GSA had accumulated costs of $24,777 for testing, and around $15,465 to help the Peace Corps transition back to its email legacy system.

After the audit began, GSA told the OIG it would ask for a roughly $25,000 reimbursement from the Peace Corps, even though those two groups’ final memorandum of understanding provided that GSA would incur those costs. Later, GSA signed an agreement with the Peace Corps for a $40,242 payment.

GSA concurred with main findings and recommendations in the OIG report.

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