The Environmental Protection Agency's Use of Consultants

Gao ID: T-GGD-89-5 February 3, 1989

GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of consulting services contracts to accomplish its mission. GAO noted that EPA: (1) heavily depended on contractors, with contracts accounting for about one-third of its total fiscal year (FY) 1989 budget estimates; (2) used more consulting services contracts for its Superfund program than for any other program; (3) reported using $2.4 million for consulting services contracts in FY 1987, although it had over $168 million in consulting services contract obligations for FY 1987; (4) ranked second highest among all federal agencies in the number of its consultant appointments; (5) underreported its use of consulting services contracts, due to its limited definition of consulting services, varying or narrow interpretations of that definition, and reporting system limitations involving contract costs, extent of services, and consultant appointments; (6) did not adhere to Office of Management and Budget guidelines in classifying consultant services contracts; and (7) submitted statutorily required evaluations of its progress in establishing effective management controls over consulting services and for improving the accuracy of reported information, but only reviewed contracts identified as consulting services contracts.

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