Labor IG finds pre-procurement diligence lax on GSA buys

DOL IG Report

Contracting officers at the Labor Department show no sign of checking for other available sources before buying products through the General Services Administration schedule contracts, according to a report by the department's inspector general.

The problem is not with the GSA procurements but with the work that should be done before turning to GSA.

Under Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, contracting officials must check existing government inventories for available excess supplies, and in other cases they should give first preference to blind or severely disabled persons who can provide the goods or services required.

If Labor officials followed these rules, they do not have an audit trail to prove it, the IG determined.

Edward Hugler, Labor’s senior procurement executive, agreed with the IG report, blaming the discrepancy on an ambiguity in a form that contracting officials are required to complete to show they had checked the required sources and the use of an alternate form by several agencies.

That resulted in the “absence of clear documentation” in contract files that the required sources had been consulted, he said, adding that the discrepancies will be fixed during the first quarter of fiscal 2007 by amending the appropriate forms and requiring all contracting officers to use them in the future.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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