Affiliated Computer Services

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Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS), is a private firm that specializes in the privatization of government administrative services for some of the nation's most vulnerable citizens. Since 2009, it has been a subsidiary of the publicly-traded Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX) In 2012, Xerox announced that it would be retiring the ACS name. The business now operates as Xerox Services.[1]

The services ACS markets include processing Medicaid claims, managing the electronic toll collection system E-ZPass, servicing student loans, processing child support payments, managing electronic payment card programs (such as Temporary Aid to Needy Families, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security Insurance), and processing parking tickets.[2] ACS obtains contracts to perform functions as administration, including health care claims processing; finance and accounting; human resources; payment processing; sales, marketing, and customer care call centers; and supply chain management in both the public and private sector.[3] As of August 2013, ACS has over 74,000 employees.[3] Its parent company, Xerox, grossed $22.39 billion in revenues for the fiscal year 2012, with nearly $1.2 billion in total profits.[4]

ACS has come under fire for siphoning off excessive fees from recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the mismanagement of services from parking meters to Medicaid payment systems, and the failure to complete major multimillion dollar contracts.

PROFITS AND OWNERSHIP: ACS is owned by Xerox Corporation, whose gross revenues were $22.39 billion and whose total profits were nearly $1.2 billion in 2012.[4] In 2009, the last year in which it was an independent entity, ACS took in more than $6.5 billion in revenues and reported profits of approximately $3.5 million.[5]

BUSINESS MODEL: ACS/Xerox provides "business process outsourcing" and IT services to private companies (including communications, finance, healthcare, higher education, and manufacturing industries) and governmental agencies (in the areas of administration/finance, energy/environment, "federal solutions," healthcare, human services, K-12 education, public safety/justice, and transportation).[6] In the public sector, the company notes, its primary services are "customer care" and "fraud prevention services," which "eliminate inefficiencies, monitor online transactions and perform other functions to safeguard against fraud, waste and abuse of government programs."[7]

FOUNDING: ACS was founded in 1988 by Darwin Deason as a financial computer services provider focused on processing bank transactions. In 1992, it acquired Dataplex and switched its focus to business process outsourcing, going public two years later.[3] According to Hoovers:

"The company continued its rapid rate of growth throughout the late 1990s, building a string of acquisitions that included Intelligent Solutions (1997), Computer Data Systems (1997), Betac International (1998), and Canmax's retail systems subsidiary (1998) . . . . Later in 1999[,] ACS bought Consultec, a provider of IT services for state health programs, from GenAmerica's General American Life subsidiary in a $105 million deal. In 2000[,] the company sold its ATM business for about $180 million. It also boosted its government outsourcing capabilities with the acquisition of Intellisource Group. The next year[,] ACS acquired Lockheed Martin's IMS subsidiary, a provider of outsourcing services to municipal and state governments, for $825 million. In 2002[,] the company acquired FleetBoston Financial's education services subsidiary, AFSA Data, for about $410 million, and with it a student loan portfolio worth about $85 billion . . . . ACS obtained Argentina-based customer care services provider Grupo Multivoice for an undisclosed amount in late 2008. The deal expanded . . . its services . . . throughout the Americas and Europe."[3] In 2010[,] ACS was acquired by copier giant Xerox for $6.4 billion in a cash and stock transaction.[3]

Controversies

SEC Probe (2013)

In October 2013, Xerox announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would be investigating ACS and its accounting practices. According to Bloomberg, the investigation was "focused on whether revenue from ACS equipment and resale transactions should have been recorded on a net rather than gross basis," and the SEC did not intend to bring charges against Xerox.[8] Then-executive vice president Lynn Blodgett, along with two other employees, received a Wells notice from the SEC, indicating that the SEC might bring a civil enforcement against them.[9] As of July 2014, no information could be found about the results of the investigation.

Contract Failures

TX: Xerox/ACS Medicaid Contract Terminated, Xerox Sued

On May 9, 2014, the Texas Attorney General sued Xerox "over allegations that it let unscrupulous dentists put braces on thousands of poor children who didn’t meet the government’s strict criteria for the expensive work," as reported by the Dallas News. The lawsuit claimed that between 2004 and 2012, the company "permitted an unprecedented loss of Medicaid funds to predatory and unscrupulous dental providers," reaching to hundreds of millions in allegedly improper charges. ACS had been awarded the Medicaid contract in 2003, and Xerox continued when it acquired ACS in 2010.[10]

The problems had been discovered much earlier. According to the Texas Tribune, "In December 2011, an investigation by WFAA-TV in Dallas revealed that Texas was spending more on Medicaid orthodontic services than the nation’s nine other most populous states combined," and that the contractor was "rubber-stamping" claims.[11] A New York Times report on May 1, 2014 noted that "by 2012, federal and state auditors found that the contractor’s actions had opened the door for a “massive Medicaid fraud scheme” that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars."[12] However, it wasn't until May 9 that the state announced it would sever the contract and would sign a new three-year contract with Accenture--another Xerox subsidiary.[11]

A 2012 report by watchdog group Texans for Public Justice found the ACS had been a client of lobbyist Mike Toomey, a " former roommate and ex-chief of staff" of Gov. Rick Perry.[13] Toomey worked as a lobbyist both before and after serving in Perry's administration, and his clients have donated millions to Perry's campaigns since 2001.[14]

IN: Failed Private System with Patronage to ACS

In 2006, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed a ten-year $1.16 billion contract with a consortium led by IBM (with ACS as the lead subcontractor) to privatize the state's Family Social Services Administration (FSSA).[15] According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, "Key players involved in the process had ties to Affiliated Computer Services, the company that benefited the most from the deal. Mitch Roob — a Daniels appointee who ran the state's Family and Social Services Administration when it awarded the contract — was a former ACS vice president. As the state began the project, Roob occasionally sought advice from former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, a political ally of Daniels and fellow privatization advocate who also had been an ACS vice president."[16]

The program launched in 2007 but two years later Indiana cancelled the contract. According to the privatization watchdog group In the Public Interest, “the state had privatized 59 out of 92 counties, but stopped the rollout in early 2009 due to pressures from Indiana lawmakers and federal officials. The new FSSA secretary, Anne Murphy, acknowledged that there were problems with the privatized system.” [15] Clients reported a decrease in service quality, including long waits, lost files, slow approvals, and mistaken cutoffs of benefits. In the Public Interest also reported that “as eligibility determination error rates rose, many families lost access to critical safety net services like food stamps and Medicaid. These rising error rates put Indiana in danger of federal sanctions. At least one resident died as a result. Ronald Alexander of Evansville died of heart ailments in October 2009 over a year after he was erroneously denied Medicaid benefits.” [15]

In October 2009, Governor Daniels announced the cancellation of the contract, calling the fully privatized system "a failed concept." [15] However, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, ACS, which many blamed for the problems, “was later given a new eight-year contract worth $638 million to continue its work, according to state records.” Coincidentally, ACS had contributed approximately $50,000 to Daniels’ campaigns and his state leadership PAC between 2003 and 2010, funneling the money through a variety of other PACs. [16]

CA: Excessive Fees Siphon off State Aid to the Poor

In California and many other states across the nation, state governments have contracted with private companies to administer funds from relief programs such as unemployment benefits and emergency rental assistance. [17] ACS was awarded a contract for the administration of California’s welfare benefits in 2007 that runs through 2015. Janelle Ross wrote in the Huffington Post that the state's agreement with ACS “to distribute cash welfare assistance, aid for international refugees, utility grants, and other emergency support cost the state's poor nearly $17.4 million in surcharges and fees” during 2010 that would not have accrued had these services been provided as a public service, according to California Department of Social Services data. [17]

The additional fees went to ACS and many of the nation’s largest banks, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase. State data show that ACS collected $806,238 in fees from California’s public benefit recipients using electronic benefits cards (EBTs) and $12.9 million in ATM fees from low-income Californians during the first eight months of 2011. The California Health and Human Services Agency released a pamphlet designed to inform EBT users of the terms of benefits provisions, which are governed by the state’s contract with ACS.  EBT card holders were permitted to get cash back from “point of sale” machines at many stores when making a purchase without a fee.  They could also make four ATM withdrawals a month without a fee.  However, each withdrawal after the fourth of each month at an ATM and cash back requests without making a purchase would incur an 80 cent surcharge. Checking an account balance at an ATM also cost 25 cents. [18]

DC: Parking Meter Mismanagement Leads to 903% Increase in Complaints

A 2007 audit found ACS had failed to take care and keep track of parking meters it operated in Washington, D.C. The audit claimed that 35 percent of parking meters listed in ACS’s inventory were missing, about 16 percent of the remaining meters were completely inoperative, among other problems. ACS also failed to fix meters within the 72-hour period mandated by its contract, according to the audit. The broken meters led to unfair tickets, with 6,888 tickets, or nearly one percent of parking meter tickets, being improperly issued at unfixed meters, according to the audit. The audit also found a 903% increase in overall parking meter complaints under the privatization contract with ACS. Washington, D.C. also had to pay $8.8 million, or 33.4 percent, more under privatization than projected trends under public management. [19]

MD: Speed Camera Contract Encourages Traffic Tickets in Violation of State Law

In 2006, state lawmakers granted Montgomery County the authority to place speed cameras throughout the county and issue citations that carry a $40 fine.[20] That same year, the county contracted ACS to administer the program, which includes processing violations, generating and mailing notices, scheduling adjudication and appeals, providing document imaging, correspondence management, walk-in customer service, pay-by-web, pay-by-phone, and integrated voice response systems, as well as maintaining camera equipment.[20]

According to the Maryland Code, if a contractor operates a speed monitoring system on behalf of local jurisdiction, "the contractor’s fee may not be contingent on the number of citations issued or paid.”[20] But according to the minutes of a January 29, 2007 meeting of the Rockville City Council, ACS gets paid “$16.25 per paid citation for each fixed site and $16.25 per paid citation or $2,999.00 per month per deployed mobile unit[,] whichever is greater," in direct violation of the law.[20]

The Washington Times criticized the program by stating there was a direct financial incentive for mailing out tickets and “no corresponding incentive for accuracy.” [21] They also noted that “at least 1,200 motorists have improperly received tickets because the trigger speed on the camera was set five miles per hour too low.  Another 3,145 citations went out with the wrong location listed.” [21] According to county records, as of September 2012, ACS was still paid on a per citation basis, with a compensation rate of “$16.25 for speed violations and $29.34 for a red light violation.” [22] ACS frequently lobbied Maryland state legislators in order to receive the rights to administer traffic violation processing.  In June 2008, ACS contracted the lobbying firm Alexander and Cleaver to organize a $3,700 dinner for Maryland’s lawmakers. [23] During the 2007-2008 campaign cycle, ACS made contributions to the campaigns of Gov. Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Deputy Majority Whip John L. Bohanan Jr. Each of these politicians played a key role in granting the speed monitoring system contract to ACS. [24]

MN: Failed Health Database

In 2003, the Minnesota Department of Human Services contracted with ACS to develop an automated system for matching citizens with state-operated healthcare plans.  The system, known as HealthMatch, was scheduled to be completed by 2005. [25] When work was still not close to completion in 2007, a Legislative Auditor’s report was performed.  The report concluded that Minnesota’s DHS had paid $8.7 million of the $22.4 million contract price to ACS as well as an additional $13 million on related implementation expenses. Michael Krigsman of ZDNet, opined that both the state and ACS were to blame for the multiple failings of the project which included “basic aspects of technology, management, staffing, business requirements definition, and so on.” [26] The parties entered litigation and eventually settled for an additional $7.25 million payment to ACS for partially completed work.  Krigsman added that most of the work completed by ACS is unsalvageable. [26]

NC: Failed Medicaid Payment System

In 2004, the North Carolina Health and Human Services Department awarded ACS a contract to deliver a new Medicaid payment system for the state.  Upon award of this contract, a dispute erupted between ACS and EDS Inc., which was the previous Medicaid payment administrator for North Carolina. EDS charged that North Carolina was improper in its award of the contract to ACS.  When ACS failed to fulfill the terms of the contract, the state terminated the agreement, after several warnings and deadline extensions, in July 2006. [27] ACS blamed the failure on the protests by EDS which diverted state and ACS attention and resources away from completing the tasks of the Medicaid payment system. [28] The contract was originally scheduled to run for a five-year period and would have provided ACS with $171 million. [27] In April 2007, a settlement was reached, giving ACS $6.2 million for services rendered and an additional $4.3 for the completion of some Medicaid billing software. [28]

ND: Years of Delays in Updating Medicaid System

The North Dakota Department of Human Services hired ACS to implement a new software system for the state's Medicaid bills, which was to be finished in 2009 after nine months. In 2010, after months of delays, an ACS vice president promised the system would be functioning by June 2012. In 2011, another executive, David Bywater, apologized for the additional delays, and told legislators the system would be working by mid-2013, years behind schedule. [29]

NH: More Years-Long Medicaid Computer System Delays

The New Hampshire Health and Human Services Department also hired ACS to implement a new computer information system for the Medicaid program in 2005 with the goal of completing it by November 2007.[30] In the end, the project was delayed for nearly six years, with ACS missing eight additional deadlines after the first one in 2007. The computer system was finished on April 1, 2013. Even then, the project had problems such as over payment of providers and improper rejection of claims. [31]

TX: Allegations of False Claims

ACS was contracted to enroll people in several federally-funded programs administered by the Texas Workforce Commission and the Dallas County Local Workforce Development Board.  However, between 2002 and 2005, several ACS employees incorrectly reported enrollment numbers resulting in overpayments to ACS. ACS reported these errors voluntarily to government officials.  A federal False Claims Act case was brought against ACS in the Northern District of Texas.  On July 3, 2007, U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper announced a settlement in which ACS would reimburse the government for $2,645,987.30. [32] [33]

Health and Safety Violations

The United States Department of Labor Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has inspected ACS facilities 31 times. The majority of the OSHA inspections stemmed from safety complaints. Ten of these inspections showed a total of 16 health and safety violations across six states (Kentucky, Washington, California, Oregon, Florida, and Minnesota) from 2003 to 2012.[34]

Political Activity

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, ACS has spent over $1.5 million lobbying at the federal level since 2010 [35] and over $7.2 million since 1998. [36] ACS has lobbied on the following issues:

  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Agriculture
  • Welfare
  • Disaster and emergency planning
  • Energy and nuclear power
  • Environment and superfund
  • Taxes
  • Tobacco
  • Homeland security
  • Government issues (specifically federal contracting opportunities)
  • Finance (specifically relating to the implementation of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, the Consumer Protection Act, and financial services). [37]

ACS, its employees, and its PAC spent more than $3 million on political contributions at the federal level from 1990 to 2013, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. [38] At the state level, ACS, its employees and its PAC have spent over $1.06 million in 27 states from 2003 to 2013, including contributions to candidate races, party committees, and ballot measures. [39]

Corporate Subsidies

According to "Subsidy Tracker," a project of Good Jobs First, Xerox has received over $19 million in government subsidies from 2004 to 2012, much of that through various ACS subsidiaries. These have taken the form of enterprise zones, training subsidies, tax credits, loans, and property tax abatements.[40]

Chief Executive Officer

Robert Zapfel

Robert Zapfel became president of Xerox's services business in April 2014. Zapfel had previously worked at IBM for 35 years, leaving in 2013. He had served in a number of positions at IBM, including heading services operations in Latin America, head of Strategy, and head of Global Delivery.[41]

The current CEO of Xerox Corp. is Ursula Burns, who has been with the company since 1980, when she started as a mechanical engineering summer intern.[42] In 2012, Ms. Burns' salary was $1,100,000. She also received $7,750,006 in stock awards, a $1,072,500 bonus, a $3,093,779 increase in pension value and $53,960 in other compensation, for a total compensation of $13,070,245.[43] She has received a total compensation of $124,842,705 from 2008 to 2012.[44]

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox

Former CEO/President Lynn Blodgett

Lynn Blodgett was the President and CEO of ACS until the company's acquisition by Xerox Corporation. He then became Executive Vice President of Xerox Corp. and President of Xerox Business Services, LLC. Blodgett announced in spring 2014 that he would retire, effective December 31, 2014.[45] In 2013, Mr. Blodgett's salary was $850,000. With other bonuses and options, his total compensation was $4,296,767,[46] down from a 2012 total of $7,561,949.[43] In the three years since Xerox bought ACS, Blodgett's compensation has been $17,475,776.[47]

Personnel

Board of Directors

Xerox Corporation board members as of July 2014:[48]

  • Ursula M. Burns - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Richard J. Harrington - Chairman and General Partner, The Cue Ball Group; Retired President and CEO, The Thomson Corporation
  • Robert J. Keegan - Operating Partner, Friedman Fleischer & Lowe; Retired Chairman of the Board, CEO and President of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
  • William Curt Hunter - Retired Dean, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa
  • Robert A. McDonald - Chairman, President and CEO, The Procter & Gamble Company
  • Charles Prince - Retired Chairman and CEO, Citigroup Inc.
  • Ann N. Reese - Executive Director, Center for Adoption Policy
  • Sara Martinez Tucker - President and Chief Executive Officer, National Math and Science Initiative
  • Mary Agnes Wilderotter - Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications Corporation

Corporate Officers

Xerox Corporation key corporate officers as of August 2013: [49]

  • Ursula M. Burns - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
  • Lynn Blodgett - President, Xerox Services
  • James A. Firestone - President, Corporate Operations
  • Jeff Jacobson - Corporate Executive Vice President; President, Xerox Technology
  • Don H. Liu - Corporate Executive Vice President; General Counsel and Secretary
  • Kathryn Mikells - Corporate Executive Vice President; Chief Financial Officer
  • Armando Zagalo de Lima - Corporate Executive Vice President;
  • Robert Zapfel - Corporate Executive Vice President; President, Xerox Services
  • Tom Maddison - Corporate Executive Vice President; Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Hervé Tessler - Corporate Senior Vice President; President, Corporate Operations
  • Dave Amoriell - Corporate Vice President; Chief Operating Officer, Public Sector Business Group, Xerox Services
  • Tom Blodgett - Corporate Vice President; Chief Operating Officer, Capabilities and Commercial Sector, Xerox Services
  • Rick Dastin - Corporate Vice President; Chief Development Engineer, Xerox Services
  • Kathleen Fanning - Corporate Vice President; Vice President, Worldwide Tax
  • Christa Carone - Chief Marketing Officer
  • Mike Feldman - Corporate Vice President; President, Large Enterprise Operations, Xerox Technology
  • Michael Festa - Corporate Vice President; Chief Financial Officer, Xerox Services
  • Grant Fitz - Corporate Vice President; Chief Financial Officer, Xerox Technology
  • Connie Harvey - Corporate Vice President; Chief Operating Officer, Commercial Healthcare Business Group, Xerox Services
  • Jacques Guers - Corporate Vice President; Vice President, Global Accounts Operations
  • James H. Lesko - Corporate Vice President; Vice President, Investor Relations
  • Stephen Little - Corporate Vice President; Chief Information Officer
  • Yehia Maaty - Corporate Vice President; President, Developing Markets Operations
  • Joseph H. Mancini, Jr. - Corporate Vice President; Chief Accounting Officer
  • Ivy Thomas McKinney - Corporate Vice President; Deputy General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer
  • Shaun Pantling - Corporate Vice President; Director, Services Development Europe, Xerox Technology
  • Russell Peacock - Corporate Vice President; President, Global Technology and Delivery Group
  • Rhonda L. Seegal - Corporate Vice President and Treasurer
  • Sophie Vandebroek - Xerox Chief Technology Officer and President, Xerox Innovation Group
  • Leslie F. Varon - Corporate Vice President; Vice President, Finance and Corporate Controller
  • Ann Vezina - Corporate Vice President; Vice President, Human Resources, Xerox Services
  • Douraid Zaghouani - Corporate Vice President; President, Channel Partner Operations, Xerox Technology
  • Kevin Warren - Corporate Vice President; President, Global Growth Opportunities

Contact Information

ACS Headquarters
2828 N Haskell Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone : +1-214-841-6111
Fax : +1-214-823-9369

Web: http://www.acs-inc.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/XeroxCorp
Twitter: http://twitter.com/XeroxCorp

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Articles

References

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