Burton: Contractors will get more accountability

he responsibility for accountability will continue to shift during the coming years to federal contractors, a former top procurement official said today.

During the Bush administration, agencies had the responsibility for accountability. The President’s Management Agenda and other initiatives graded agencies on score cards on how well they performed. However, based on new rules and under the Obama administration the contractor is set to be the focus, said Robert Burton, former deputy administration of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFFP) and now partner at the Venable law firm.


"'We are accountable.' Those three words really say an enormous amount about what the contractor community will be facing," Burton told the Government Contract Management Conference.


Congress and procurement policy regulators have already taken steps to give contractors more responsibility, he said.

The fiscal 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3001) requires the OFFP to issue a policy to prevent personal conflicts of interest by contractor employees doing work closely associated with inherently government functions, or work only a federal employee may do. However, the law puts the burden on the contractor to tell the government about possible conflicts.

Members of Congress have said they’re concerned that contractor employees who work alongside government employees are not subject to the same conflict-of-interest provisions as government employees

Also, a change in regulatory policy will require contractors that find credible evidence to report crimes related to government contracts, or if the government overpays them. They must also have an internal control system as a means of monitoring crime or fraud. The rules take effect Dec. 12.m

About the Author

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

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