GSA's IG warns of risky acquisition support
As contracting increases and the workforce's size remains the same, agencies are looking for backup
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Aug 18, 2010
Contractors may be getting closer to handling sensitive duties as agencies buy services to augment their acquisition staff members through the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedules contracts, officials say in a new report.
Federal Acquisition Service officials need to emphasize their ways to protect the government from interference by private-sector employees, according to a report released Aug. 17 by the GSA inspector general's office.
When is a position inherently governmental?
FAS approved the addition of acquisition management support services to its Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services (MOBIS) Schedule in April 2007. In fiscal 2007 and 2008, agencies reported ordering $111.6 million in contract, procurement and acquisition support services from schedules contracts, according to the report.
However, the new services can leave an agency open to a greater risk of a contractor performing restricted services, which are often referred to as inherently governmental functions, or violating conflict-of-interest regulations.
Also, agencies placed some orders that were outside the scope of the schedules program, according to the report. As a result, agencies may have circumvented competition requirements and violated the terms and conditions of the contracts, wrote Erin Priddy, audit manager of the IG's acquisition programs audit office.
“As a result, the government may not have received the best value for these services,” Priddy wrote.
Priddy recommended that FAS officials figure out how often contractors are doing acquisition support work beyond the schedule contracts' scope, and which agencies are using the schedules program inappropriately. For prevention, Priddy recommended that FAS add special ordering instructions to the MOBIS acquisition support requests for quotes and spread the word about the instructions, according to the report.
FAS Commissioner Steve Kempf agreed with the report’s recommendations.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.