The way the government hands out building construction contracts stifles competition and wastes money, industry experts told a House panel Tuesday. The issue comes with design-build contracts in which the architecture work and construction are bundled into one contract. Those contracts can be awarded as a one-step or two-step process.
"There is broad agreement that the sequestration cuts are poorly designed. But policymakers would be well-advised not to replace one set of harmful cuts with another set of harmful cuts," the Washington, D.C.-based think tank says in a November report.
Government surveys should experiment with subjective questions about well-being, a new report from the National Research Council says.
Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia tied for countries perceived as most corrupt, while New Zealand and Denmark came in at the opposite end of the perception spectrum, according to Transparency International's newest annual corruption index. The index scores 177 countries based on a combination of surveys and assessments of corruption. It doesn't score actual corruption, something that likely resists objective measurement, just perception of corruption toward each country.
Budget constraints caused the Postal Service to leave some of its facilities in disrepair, a Nov. 27 USPS inspector general report says. Between fiscal 2009 and 2012 financial challenges led to a $382 million decrease in the Postal Service building repair budget. By not completing necessary repairs, the Postal Service exposes itself to increased costs in future years, the report says.
A Las Vegas sculpture claimed copyright infringement against the Postal Service for a stamp depicting what the USPS thought was the Statue of Liberty. The picture actually shows the replica that sits in front of a New York City-themed hotel casino on the Las Vegas strip, the Washington Post reports.
Environmental issues such as climate change are not as visible as those that faced the country in the past, which has made public support for the Environmental Protection Agency more elusive, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Dec. 2. "Most people don't see the environmental challenges the way they used to, because we've been very good at the work we've done," she said.
The General Services Administration plans to reduce costs of agency office supply purchasing by including businesses that don't have a GSA Multiple Award Schedule, among other changes to its current strategic sourcing plan, a Dec. 2 GSA statement says.
U.S. should try for better relationship with Chinese military or enlist help of other countries, CRS says
With China's military becoming more assertive and less willing to work with the U.S. forces, the United States could either try to cultivate a better military relationship or engage with other countries to put pressure on China to work with the U.S. military, a Nov. 20 Congressional Research Service report says.
Federal agencies reported $3.8 billion in cost savings related to real property in recent years, but their decisions about what counted as savings were inconsistent and sometimes dubious, the Government Accountability Office says.
A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld the Postal Service's decision to deliver mail to the front desk or collection box of single room occupancy hotels rather than deliver it to the room's individual mailbox.
Just before leaving for Thanksgiving break, the Senate dealt a body blow to the bill that sets Defense Department spending levels, leaving it in peril as the legislative calendar for the year winds down.
Croatia will join a list of country that can deal with the United States for big procurement contracts. Because Croatia joined the European Union in July, it will be allowed to enter into the World Trade Organization's Government Procurement Agreement, which allows its member countries to makes procurement deals with each over a certain threshold, a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation says.
With the self-imposed deadline to finish up fiscal 2014 budget negotiations looming, there's no sign that the budget committee created after the October government shutdown will strike a deal. The budget conference deadline hits Dec. 13, but there aren't immediate consequences until Jan. 15 when funding from the continuing resolution that reopened the government in Oct. runs out.
Merit-based pay reduces employee satisfaction at federal agencies, because limited government funds make for a small number of pay raises, finds a Nov. 26 paper published by the Brookings Institution. Experiments with merit-based pay quickly revealed problems, the paper says, including inadequate funding, inaccurate performance appraisals and reports of perceived unfairness.
A new, centralized way for the Federal Reserve to manage coin circulation meant to improve efficiency actually increased costs, a recently released Oct. 28 Government Accountability Office report says.
The Environmental Protection Agency wants to clear up standards about sustainability claims for products the government is purchasing and it is looking to private sector standards to do that. The EPA released draft guidelines, Wednesday, to establish standards that would help agencies implement sustainable acquisition requirements of a 2009 Executive Order.
The Defense Department and General Services Administration overstated their use of consolidated contracts because they weren't properly reported to the Federal Procurement Data System, a Nov. 26 Government Accountability report says. In a consolidated contract consolidation, an agency combines two or more contract requirements that were previously under separate contracts.
The Obama administration is trying to stop the unregulated flow of campaign money through nonprofit organizations by prohibiting tax-protected social welfare groups from undertaking candidate-related political activity.
The council, composed of tax professionals and academics, says budget cuts have driven up the cost of compliance for taxpayers, because fewer resources are available for the IRS to produce clear regulations and provide assistance to taxpayers.