IG: USPS should rescind its facilities contract delegation

The Postal Service should rescind its facilities contract delegation because the contracting officers aren’t required to meet professional qualifications or establish competition requirements, an Aug. 5 USPS inspector general report says.

USPS’s Supply Management office is responsible for approving contracts to acquire goods and services, but they can delegate contracting authority to personnel outside of Supply Management, the report says.

In September 2013, the Postal Service reported six delegations. And though five of those delegations have performed well, the facilities delegation hasn’t, the IG says.

Facilities did not require contracting officers to meet professional qualifications or establish sufficient competition requirements for contracts, the report says. Also, the facilities delegation could not identify its active contracts and did not timely submit the required annual reports.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/ig-usps-should-rescind-its-facilities-contract-delegation/2014-08-12

IG: USPS facility nearly 4 months late paying contractors

The Postal Service made payments nearly four months late to contractors shipping mail out of the Indianapolis processing and distribution facility, a recently released USPS inspector general report says.

The distribution center did not process about $74,000 in exceptional service payments in a timely manner over the eight month period from June 2013 through January 2014, the report says. The Postal Service gives bonuses to contractors who provide exceptional service, including changes in normally scheduled transportation operations including extra trips and late leaving trips.

“Management stated that contractors were alarmed by the frequency and amount of payments the Postal Service owed them and were looking for assistance to resolve these payment issues,” the report says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/ig-usps-facility-nearly-4-months-late-paying-contractors/2014-08-06

Not following interim DoD rule may be costing taxpayers billions

A new report from the U.S. Department of Defense found that Navy and Marine Corps contracting personnel may be subjecting billions of dollars to waste due to non-compliance with cost reimbursement regulations.

According to the department’s internal watchdog, of 170 contracts reviewed, valued at about $7.7 billion, 135 of them, valued at about $7.54 billion were in question because contracting personnel did not consistently implement the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) revision, called the interim rule.

“As a result, contracting personnel continue to issue cost-reimbursement contracts that may increase DoD’s contracting risks because cost-reimbursement contracts provide less incentive for contractors to cut costs,” the Inspector General wrote in the report.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/12/defense-dept-contracting-personnel-may-be-wasting-/ 

 

IG says USPS needs to better monitor spending on its employee travel cards

U.S. Postal Service travel card coordinators need to more efficiently monitor cash advances that they give to traveling employees because many of those advances potentially didn’t comply with travel policy, says a June 25 report by the inspector general.

The Postal Service provides individual government travel cards to some employees for use while on official travel.

As of Jan. 15, USPS had 44,104 government travel cardholders who made 247,419 purchases, totaling $44.9 million. They also took 8,793 cash advances, totaling $1.6 million, from April 1, 2012, through March 31, 2013, the report says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/ig-usps-needs-better-monitor-spending-its-employee-travel-cards/2014-07-02

Army to Seek Northrop refunds over inflated labor rates

The U.S. Army will press Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) for refunds after the Pentagon’s inspector general found the contractor charged the service inflated labor rates on programs to fight drug trafficking.

The Army Contracting Command will conduct its own audit “as soon as feasible” of Northrop’s billings and the resumes of subcontractor workers to determine how much money should be repaid, spokeswoman Giselle Lyons said in an e-mail.

Allegations in the report “are being further investigated by the U.S. Army Contracting Command,” she said. “The command is implementing the recommendations proposed to help ensure the proper management and oversight of current and future contract actions.”

Northrop, the fifth-biggest U.S. contractor, charged the Army excessive labor rates for almost six years for more than 300 subcontractor employees working in Afghanistan and in the U.S. on counter-narcotics efforts abroad, the inspector general said in a May 13 report labeled “For Official Use Only” and obtained by Bloomberg News.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-29/army-to-seek-northrop-refunds-over-inflated-labor-rates.html

DoD shows contractor personnel fired for misconduct as eligible for security clearance, IG says

When contractor employees accused of misconduct are fired or quit before DoD makes judgement, the system that records the adjudication still shows them as eligible for security clearance, a DoD inspector general report says.

In all the cases the auditors reviewed, as soon as employee misconduct was discovered, the contracting company either fired the employee or the employee resigned, the report (pdf) says. Once that occurred, the employee no longer had a need for access to classified information and no further personnel security action was taken to adjudicate the misconduct.

Since the case was not adjudicated for revocation of security clearance, it wasn’t reported to the Joint Personnel Adjudicative System – the database that holds information on contractors who’ve lost security clearance due to misconduct, the IG says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/dod-system-still-showing-contractors-fired-misconduct-elegible-security-cle/2014-04-21 

 

GSA’s new contracting policy tackles IG’s concerns about management interference

The General Services Administration is attempting to clarify to managers and vendors alike the proper approach to overseeing the schedules program.

A February memo and policy is part of the way GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service is trying to address a 2013 inspector general report that found examples of improper management interference on decisions by contracting officers under the schedules program.

“We’ve taken a number of actions to reinforce proper procurement while also focusing on doing more for our customers to save them time and money in acquisition,” said Tom Sharpe, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, in an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio. “We’ve moved out on training. We’ve moved out on providing tools for the multiple award schedules, and we are in the process of standardizing part numbers, instilling horizontal pricing pressure. The schedules are priced vertically, the most favored customer price, so we are looking at comparison across suppliers to provide horizontal pricing pressure, and we’ve taken on initiatives to make the processes within the multiple award schedules faster.”

In June, the GSA IG found FAS managers improperly interfered with negotiations for new schedule contracts for Carahsoft, Deloitte and Oracle. GSA executives ended up suspending one senior official in light of what the IG found and have been taking steps over the last nine months to clarify and reinforce the role of managers in schedule contract negotiations.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/74/3609018/GSA-contracting-policy-tackles-IG-concerns-over-autonomy

Improved Pentagon acquisition requires tolerance of risk

The federal government must get more comfortable with risk if it is to deliver the nimbler and more performance-based acquisition regulations that defense contractors pine for, a panel of industry executives said this week.

Federal contracting officials should move from the “adversarial, risk-intolerant oversight culture we have with procurement to one that incentivizes and encourages innovation and appropriate, smart risk-taking,” said Joe Jordan, FedBid’s president of public sector, during an April 23 panel discussion hosted by Bloomberg Government.

There is a widespread perception among federal contractors that the government punishes rather than rewards innovation, he added. “If you step out [on] the ledge half an inch, you’re worried about the IG report, the GAO report, your boss getting called to the Hill and then you bearing the brunt of the repercussions.”

Abandoning that risk-averse approach requires a cultural shift, he added — something bigger and less tangible than amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2014/04/25/dod-acquisition.aspx

Differing DoD and SBA rules on protecting SBIR technical data causing confusion

The intellectual property rights of small business are subject to risk from differing Defense Department and Small Business Administration rules governing Small Business Innovation Research contracts, say DoD auditors.

Policies governing how long the technical data developed by small businesses under the SBIR program differ between the Small Business Administration SBIR Policy Directive and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement.

Federal agencies that spend more than $100 million annually on external research must allocate during the current fiscal year at least 2.8 percent of that budget to SBIR contracts.

The SBA directive governing SBIR says the technical data protection period starts when the last deliverable under the contract is delivered by a small business awardee. That period can be extended if the SBIR data is protected and referenced under a subsequent SBIR contract, even if the rights expired.

The DFARS rule says project completion determines the protection period. DFARS doesn’t whether the protection period can be extended or renewed.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/differing-dod-and-sba-rules-protecting-sbir-technical-data-causing-confusio/2014-03-31

The DoD Inspector General’s report can be downloaded at: http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2014-049.pdf

 

State Dept. IG issues alert over $6 billion in contracting money unaccounted for

The State Department’s inspector general has warned the department that $6 billion in contracting money over the past six years cannot be properly accounted for and cited “significant financial risk and . . . a lack of internal control.”

The warning was the second “management alert” in State Department history, both issued by new Inspector General Steve Linick. Linick took over the job in late September, after it had been vacant for nearly six years.

oth the alert, dated March 20, and the department’s response a week later, were made public Thursday, April 3, 2014.

The department said it concurred in all recommendations and outlined steps it will take to address what it agreed is a “vulnerability.”

Linick initiated the alert format to report on problems that remain unaddressed despite repeatedly being identified in IG audits and investigations. The first alert, released in January in partly classified form, cited “significant and recurring weaknesses in the Department of State Information System Security Program.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/state-department-inspector-general-issues-alert-over-6-billion-in-contracting-money/2014/04/03/8ebf465c-bb73-11e3-9a05-c739f29ccb08_story.html