GAO: Some agencies ignored contract limits in Iraqi reconstruction
The U.S. General Accounting Office has reported that federal agencies contracting reconstruction work in Iraq 'did not always comply with regulations when issuing task orders under existing contracts.'
For new contracts, the law generally requires the use of full and open competition, where all responsible prospective contractors are allowed to compete, but permits sole-source or limited competition awards in specified circumstances, such as when only one source is available, or to meet urgent requirements, the GAO said in a statement.
'All of the 14 contracts GAO examined were awarded without full and open competition, but each involved circumstances that the law recognizes as permitting such awards,' the GAO said.
'There was a lesser degree of compliance when agencies issued 11 task orders under existing contracts. GAO found several instances where contracting officers issued task orders for work that was not within the scope of the underlying contracts,' the GAO noted.
'Staffing and security (in Iraq) remain major concerns. Additionally, the Army and its contractors have yet to agree on key terms and conditions, including the projected cost, on nearly $1.8 billion worth of reconstruction work that either has been completed or is well under way. Until contract terms are defined, cost risks for the government remain, and contract cost control incentives are likely to be less effective,' the GAO warned.
For the full GAO report, see www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-04-605.