IGs creating ‘fearful paralysis’ among agencies, vendors

Right Then Forward
The inscription on the IG crest (Droit et Avant) is French and literally means “right and forward.” Freely translated this motto embodies the IG philosophy of “First be right; then take action.”

The number of successful investigations by inspectors general has more than doubled in 20 years. Does that mean IGs are doing a better job weeding out waste, fraud and abuse in government, or are they creating mountains out of molehills?

Kymm McCabe, founder of ValueStorm Growth Partners, said the increased oversight is creating a “fearful paralysis” in the acquisition community.

“We’ve become so focused on using oversight to try to solve every problem, that folks are now just afraid,” McCabe said on In Depth with Francis Rose . “It’s really caused a freeze on communication.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/147/3851146/IGs-creating-fearful-paralysis-among-agencies-vendors

IG finds both agency implementation and SBA oversight of WOSB program to be flawed

Federal agencies’ contracting officers are awarding set-aside contracts without meeting the set-aside requirements associated with the Small Business Administration’s Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program.   This finding, among others, appears in a report issued on May 14, 2015 by the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

SBA - IGThe OIG report states that as much as $7.1 million worth of contracts received by WOSBs in fiscal year (FY) 2014 may be improper.  For example, 10 of 34 WOSB set-aside awards were for ineligible work, and 9 of these 34 were awarded to firms that did not provide required documentation to prove they were eligible WOSBs.

In addition to the 9 WOSB awards that did not have any ownership or control documentation in the SBA’s WOSB Repository, the OIG identified 13 of 25 firms in their audit sample that uploaded only some — but not all — of the required documentation to the Repository, thus also bringing their program eligibility into question.

Additionally, 12 businesses did not provide sufficient documentation to prove that a woman or women controlled the day-to-day operations of their firms.  These firms, which received $8 million in contracts, also may be ineligible for their WOSB set-aside awards.

The OIG report is critical not only of agencies’ implementation of the federal WOSB program but also of SBA’s lax oversight.  Accordingly, OIG made five recommendations to the SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development calling for improvements in how SBA manages and administers the WOSB program.

It should be noted that even before the OIG’s report, the SBA’s WOSB program already was slated to undergo some major programmatic changes based on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for both FY 2013 and 2015.  The NDAAs stipulated considerable increases SBA’s oversight responsibilities.  Specifically, the FY 2015 Act will: 1) grant contracting officers the authority to award sole-source awards to WOSB firms, 2) remove firms’ ability to self-certify, and 3) require firms to be certified.  The SBA is still determining how it will implement these mandated changes.

The OIG’s full report can be downloaded here: Improvements_Needed_in_SBAs_Management_of_WOSB_Program-OIG_Report_15-10

Pentagon employees used Government charge cards for gambling and ‘adult entertainment’

A not-yet-released Defense Department investigation has found civilian and military employees used government charge cards to make more than $1 million in purchases at casinos and to pay for escorts, according to an internal report

The Pentagon’s inspector general, as first reported by Politico and confirmed by a department official, found Defense employees used the cards for gambling and “adult entertainment” in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The IG initiated the review in 2014 in accordance with the 2012 Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act.

Govt Charge CardIn the one-year period beginning July 1, 2013, Defense cardholders made 4,437 transactions totaling more than $950,000 at casinos using their government cards. Employees made an additional 900 transactions totaling nearly $100,000 at “adult entertainment establishments.” The Pentagon said this represented a small fraction of the total transactions on department-issued cards, coming to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the charges.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/05/pentagon-employees-used-government-charge-cards-gambling-and-adult-entertainment/112186

Contractors had access to personal data without required training, background checks

Federal contractors without background checks, non-disclosure agreements or required privacy training were able to access sensitive data from Army childcare subsidy payment applications that they were hired to process, the General Service Administration’s inspector general said in an April 27 report.

GSA logoThe IG said it published the report because GSA recently said it had agreed in principle to get more Army funding to hire up to 50 more contractors.

“While our evaluation is in progress, we are issuing this management alert report due to the serious nature of these findings and the risks associated with permitting new contractors to work with sensitive information, including PII [personally identifiable information], without having completed initial background investigations, completed required training, and having executed non-disclosure agreements,” the report said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/gsa-ig-contractors-had-access-personal-data-without-required-training-backg/2015-04-28

Some DOT contracting officers not certified for high-dollar contracts

Nearly a quarter of Transportation Department contracting officers didn’t comply with certification specifications when working on certain high dollar acquisitions, says an April 9, 2015 DOT inspector general report.

US DOTIn fiscal 2014, DOT obligated $2 billion on contracts.

To help ensure those contracts meet federal and departmental requirements, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) requires that contracting officers be certified at the appropriate level to correspond with the dollar value of contracts, the report says.

OFPP also directed each agency’s chief acquisition officer to establish agency-specific certification and warrant requirements.

But of the 63 contracting officers GAO reviewed, 15, or about 24 percent, did not fully comply with those requirements.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/some-dot-contracting-officers-not-certified-high-dollar-contracts/2015-04-15

Read the DOT IG’s report here: https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/files/DOT%20Contracting%20Officer%20Certification%20and%20Warrant%20Requirements%20Final%20Report%5E4-9-15.pdf