Customs at odds with DHS IG over report on small-biz goals

Officials at Customs and Border Protection say a draft report by the inspector general contains 'misstatements of fact and inaccuracies that are misleading'

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials are strongly defending performance on small-business goals for the Secure Border Initiative Network contract despite a critical report issued today by Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard Skinner.

Skinner released findings alleging that SBInet contractor Boeing Co. met small-business goals in 2006 and 2007 but has not met small-business goals since September 2007.

The small-business goal for SBInet subcontracts is that 40 percent of all subcontracts should go to small businesses. Boeing’s record since September 2007 shows 31 to 35 percent small-business participation, the IG report said.

CBP officials rejected Skinner’s allegations and recommendations.

“CBP does not concur with the report’s recommendations and does not agree with the report’s conclusions and content,” states a CBP management comment letter attached to the report.

“Despite extensive and collaborative pre-draft coordination with the Office of the Inspector General on the results of the audit, the draft report continues to contain misstatements of fact and inaccuracies that are misleading regarding small-business participation in the SBInet prime contract and Boeing’s role related to small-business participation in the SBI program as a whole,” the CBP management letter said.

The CBP management letter further contends that the inspector general makes a number of incorrect representations in describing the small-business participation in SBInet subcontracts.

Skinner, while noting CBP’s objections, stood by his conclusions in the report. “The reported data is correct,” Skinner wrote.

SBInet currently is going through a reassessment, owing to delays in the program. Construction is occurring on the first permanent segments of the project in Arizona.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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