Contract management at the Energy Department continues to be a significant challenge, says an Oct. 7 DOE inspector general report. The DOE is the most contractor-dependent civilian agency in the federal government. It awards contracts, grants and other financial assistance to industrial companies, small businesses, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.
Federal agencies are taking advantage of market research for big dollar procurements, but are missing those opportunities for smaller contracts, an Oct. 9 Government Accountability Office report says. All 28 contracts GAO reviewed included some evidence of the market research conducted. The contracts GAO reviewed were pulled from the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department, Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department.
The Labor Department issued its final rule raising the minimum wage for federal contracting employees to $10.10 per hour, a notice in the Federal Register says. The pay bump, which will effect 10,000 low-wage workers at companies with federal concession agreements, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, the notice says.
The Postal Regulatory Commission published a final rule that lists the elements that need to be shown to bring a complaint that the Postal Service has violated competition rules. A valid complaint requires that the USPS have a rule, regulation or standard that precludes competition or establishes the terms of the competition, the rule (pdf) says.
A Veteran's Health Administration procurement executive pressured employees and worked the acquisition system to award FedBid contracts for reverse-auctions, a Sept. 26 Veteran's Affairs Department inspector general report says. The report (pdf) says Susan Taylor, VHA's deputy chief procurement officer, in 2010 pressured staff repeatedly in emails to speed up the acquisition process and pick FedBid- a Vienna, Va. based reverse auction vendor- for the reverse auction contracts.
The Defense Department unveiled the third iteration of its Better Buying Power initiative, which is meant to cut acquisition costs for the DoD. Better Buying Power, which was launched in 2010, provides a set of best practices to improve acquisition through cost control and the elimination of unproductive processes and bureaucracy.
Contracting officers aren't collecting information on the amount of work subcontractors are doing for prime small business contractors with set aside contracts, a Sept. 16 Government Accountability Office report says. Small Businesses Administration's 8(a) program, is meant to help developing small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals get contracts with the federal government through set asides.
The Senate Thursday confirmed Anne Rung by voice voted to head the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. The top spot at the Office of Management and Budget's procurement policy shop has been vacant since Joe Jordan left for the private sector eight months ago.
Federal agencies can begin using the General Services Administration's OASIS contracting because the Court of Federal Claims and Government Accountability Office denied all bid protests, a Sept. 3 GSA statement says. The GSA issued an official Notice to Proceed OASIS so both OASIS and OASIS Small Business--GSA's small business set-aside contract--are ready for business, GSA says.
Ambiguous guidance, organizational structure and a lack of resources is hampering the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to manage acquisition compliance, a Sept. 2 EPA inspector general report says. In 2012, the EPA initiated the Contract Management Assessment Program as part of the agency's office of acquisition management.