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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Watchdog: GSA officials improperly intervened on top tech contracts

Senior officials from the General Services Administration pressured subordinates to accept federal technology contracts with higher-than-necessary prices and unfavorable terms, according to a watchdog report released Tuesday.

GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller found that directors for the agency’s technology -acquisition division improperly intervened when contracting staff members determined that certain proposals were not in taxpayers’ best interests.

Miller said the findings raise “serious issues affecting the integrity of our acquisition system,” adding that “contracting officers need an environment in which they are free to make judgments, conclusions and findings without undue interference.”

The GSA, which manages federal properties and facilities, placed one supervisor on administrative leave and promised to review the contracts to determine whether they should be canceled or renegotiated. It also said it would examine its contracting policies and controls.

The report cited the agency’s three largest contracts for 2011, worth $900 million, for Oracle, Carahsoft and Deloitte. It said company officials directly contacted agency management when concerns were raised about their offers, undermining the authority of the lower-level contracting personnel.

In one example, a whistleblower told the investigators, “The pressure is coming from my boss, who has told me he doesn’t want Carahsoft to call their congressman. They have already called their congressman before.” (Continues at WaPo)

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