IG tells FAA to do business on GSA-administered GWACs

An inspector general has recommended that the Transportation Department terminate a Federal Aviation Administration support services contracting program and consider replacing it with governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) administered by the General Services Administration.

The program is the RESULTS National Contracting Service, which FAA created to acquire a variety of support services, including engineering and technical services.

The IG's Sept. 21 audit report states that "the RESULTS procurement program was not properly structured to meet FAA’s needs for faster, cheaper and better support services. FAA officials did not award contracts with sufficient competition or adequate price analysis, and deficiencies also existed in the administration of individual contracts.”

The OIG advised FAA to dissolve RESULTS and, according to the report, FAA has agreed and is taking steps to discontinue the multiple-award program.

But the OIG wants the agency to go further.

The audit's author, Rebecca Leng, assistant IG for financial and information technology audits, advised the FAA to consider “using other existing multiple-award programs, such as the GSA GWACs, to acquire replacement services."

Leng said those procurement programs have built-in controls "such as centrally defined labor categories and qualifications and precompeted labor rates, which not only streamline the contract award process but also help ensure reasonable prices. “

Lawmakers had requested a broad IG review of RESULTS after allegations of potential fraud in a RESULTS contract between the FAA’s Military Operations Program and Crown Consulting. The RESULTS program cannot exceed a $543 million cap.

“Our comparison of RESULTS labor costs with those in other FAA procurement programs indicates that FAA would incur $24 million to $44 million in higher costs if all option years in existing RESULTS contracts were exercised,” Leng wrote.

Support services are used to assist organizational policy development, decision-making, program and project management, and research and development activities. The category also covers professional advice or assistance to improve management processes, such as engineering and technical procedures.

The audit, which was conducted from May 2005 through September 2006, found that the program did not specify or properly define labor qualifications, so labor rates were higher than those for which employees were qualified or tasked to perform.

Leng wrote, for example, that "an FAA executive’s spouse was billed on one RESULTS contract as an information engineer, even though she lacked the training and experience necessary to qualify for that labor category.”

Information engineers design and implement systems using various software languages, tools and database management systems, according to the audit.

“This employee nevertheless billed 1,367 hours (at $63 per hour—more than $86,000 in total) to the contract for processing time-and-attendance records,” the report states.

Procurement experts say the IG’s audit is notable because the GWAC recommendation goes against recent trends in government contracting.

“The point here is that the IG is the one who is saying you ought to be looking at an interagency approach. It is an interesting twist,” said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, which represents public services companies. “My guess is that FAA will come down to something that has a blend of GWAC and organic contract vehicles," he said.

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