The Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has substantiated allegations regarding the acquisition of the hiring system acquired by the Bonneville Power Administration as well as general concerns about Bonneville’s procurement office’s operations.
The Department of Energy’s Bonneville Power Administration, which markets wholesale power produced primarily from Federal hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest, operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high voltage transmission in the area. Bonneville has about 3,000 federal employees, which represents approximately 20 percent of the Department’s total federal workforce. In support of its various mission activities and human resources needs, Bonneville makes a number of procurements each year. By statute, Bonneville is exempt from the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and is permitted to acquire goods and services using its own requirements published as the Bonneville Purchasing Instructions. In an effort to streamline its recruiting and hiring processes, Bonneville acquired the automated Talent Acquisition System (hiring system) in July 2012.
The OIG received a hotline complaint alleging fraud, waste, and abuse related to the acquisition of information technology (IT) systems. The complaint included specific concerns regarding the acquisition of the hiring system, as well as general concerns about the procurement organization’s operations. The allegations made in the complaint were, in part, substantiated in an August 3, 2015 report issued by the OIG. Most prominently, regarding the acquisition of the hiring system, the OIG found that Bonneville spent about $5.2 million for a system that did not meet its needs. The OIG identified significant weaknesses with the system planning, acquisition, and contract administration.
The issues identified were due, in large part according to the OIG, to the accelerated planning, development, and deployment approach used by Bonneville for this particular project. Other contributing factors included a lack of adequate due diligence and accountability on the part of key personnel responsible for acquisition and monitoring of the hiring system and insufficient involvement of Bonneville’s IT Project Management Office. The OIG also noted that Bonneville failed to apply lessons learned from a previous IT system failure, leading to the repeat of past mistakes.
Read the OIG report at: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/08/f25/DOE-IG-0943.pdf