Businesses that already had considerable federal contracting experience were allowed to participate in the Energy Department's program to mentor inexperienced contractors.
The Energy Department didn't ensure that the full costs of work done for other organizations by national laboratories were reimbursed, resulting in a $400,000 loss between 2008 and 2012, a recently released Oct. 23 Government Accountability Office report says.
While science research programs received less funding 10 years ago than they do today, they benefitted from the fact that the Energy Department had a better feel for how much money was coming. Today, however, funding levels are in flux, making long term planning difficult, said Pat Dehmer, deputy director of science programs at the DOE's office of science.
Agencies should not develop their own green building certification systems, a General Services Administration review has concluded. Instead, GSA recommends that they use either the Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system, better known as LEED, or the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes system.
The report criticizes poor oversight by DOE of conference and meal costs. Officials didn't require detailed cost esimates for conferences, and meals and refreshments "were justified as being an inseparable part of planned events," auditors say.
Research at some Energy Department's national laboratories continues, but will be halted if the government shutdown continues. The DOE runs 18 laboratories that are federally funded, but managed and staffed by private-sector organizations under contract with the agency.
The federal strategic sourcing program advanced Oct. 9 with two solicitations from the General Services Administration for bulk purchases, one for janitorial supplies and the other for maintenance equipment. The two solicitations involve products that cost the government more than $1 billion annually, and GSA estimates that strategic sourcing will reduce their cost by 10-20 percent.
Less than 2 percent of National Science Foundation personnel qualified as essential enough to continue working during the government shutdown under the agency's contingency plan. Within the Health and Human Services Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has retained 32 percent of its staff.
Measured government spending on service contracts fell $48 billion in fiscal 2012 compared to its peak in 2009, a Sept. 3 Center for Strategic and International Studies report (.pdf) says. Total services contract obligation dropped to $308 billion from $356 billion in 2009, the report says. All dollars are inflation adjust for fiscal 2012.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory didn't perform adequate price analysis of one its chief of staff subcontracting rates, which led to a subcontract that was 51 percent higher on average than similar chiefs of staff at the laboratory, an Aug. 8 Energy Department inspector general report (.pdf) says.