The allegations, from an anonymous source identified only as a Bell of Pennsylvania employee, were received by the commission in a letter on Feb. 21. In the letter it was stated that Bell's purchase of IBM Netview software had been the result of a "secret deal . . . at the highest level of management."
The PUC responded in March by asking the inspector general of Bell Atlantic Corp., which owns Bell of Pennsylvania, to conduct the probe of its subsidiary's purchase.
The software helps manage Bell of Pennsylvania's telephone network. It replaced Net/Master, made by CinCom Systems Inc. of Cincinnati, which Bell had used since 1985.
The PUC staff based its decision not to pursue the allegations further based partly on Bell Atlantic's lengthy report on the matter, Bohdan R. Pankiw, the PUC's deputy chief counsel, said yesterday. On May 18, the company provided the PUC with a 2-inch-thick binder full of internal memos and other documents related to the Netview purchase.
That report and other phone company documents requested by the commission staff were reviewed by a computer-software consultant who found no reason to question the procedure followed by Bell in the purchase, Pankiw said.
Pankiw also said that no Bell employees were interviewed by the commission staff. "That's something we could have done if we smelled something fishy," Pankiw said.