Denett: IGs are 'aggravating,' and overstep boundaries

Inspectors general are overstepping their bounds in federal contracting, a chief procurement official said today.

The IGs have taken over the role of program manager, Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in a speech at a Coalition for Government Procurement conference.

“They get aggravating sometimes,” Denett also said after his speech.

The IGs should seek out waste, fraud and abuse, “but when they become so dominant that program managers and contracting officers are reluctant to exercise what they believe is their best business judgment…that’s not healthy,” Denett said in the speech.

The IGs serve their purpose, but they should not go beyond their responsibilities, Denett said.

“They need to act professionally and back up their findings with fact that program managers and agencies can verify,” he added.

When those findings make sense,the agencies will act, Denett said.

Denett agreed with comments by the coalition’s president, Larry Allen.

“The IG is emboldened to set itself up as the de facto program manager,” Allen said. Congress supports the IGs' steps, while the Bush administration doesn’t see enough political capital in reining in the IGs, Allen added.

He encouraged industry to “stand up for itself” against IGs that overstep.

Allen also urged companies to look beyond the quarterly balance sheet and to reconsider the use of tactical maneuvers with temporary benefits to get contracts because those moves may hurt programs in the long run as oversight continues at least through this Congress and possibly into the next one and into the next presidential administration.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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