Sound Contract Management Needed at the Environmental Protection Agency

Gao ID: T-RCED-89-8 February 23, 1989

GAO discussed its review of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) contracting activities. GAO noted that EPA: (1) heavily relied on contractor support to accomplish its mission, with contract obligations exceeding $1 billion, about one-third of its total budget; (2) spent the most contract dollars on its Superfund program, with estimated obligations at $655 million; (3) increased its contracting budget and management staff, but decreased its number of contracts; (4) established its Alternative Remedial Contract Strategy to increase competition, expedite awards, and decentralize Superfund contract oversight responsibility to contracting personnel in regional offices; (5) consistently experienced such contracting problems as noncompetitive subcontract awards, inadequate government cost estimates, lack of sound contract management controls, cost overruns, rewards for inadequate contractor performance, heavy reliance on cost-plus-fee contracts, improper sole-source awards, and underreporting of its use of consultant contracts; and (6) has taken some steps to correct these weaknesses, although continued emphasis on contract completion at the expense of sound contract management could continue to result in contracting problems.

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