Procurement Authority of Office of Special Counsel

B-196981: Jan 16, 1981

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GAO was asked whether the Office of Special Counsel of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has its own procurement authority which it can exercise without clearance or approval from MSPB. This question has been under active consideration by GAO. However, before GAO was able to complete its analysis, a suit was filed in a U.S. district court by MSPB against the requestor individually and in her official capacity as Acting Special Counsel. The complaint alleged that, although the chairwoman of MSPB is the agency's chief administrative and budgetary officer with responsibility for its fiscal administration, the Special Counsel refused to comply with her directives by asserting that the Special Counsel has independent administrative and budgetary authority. Since procurement authority is part of the general administrative authority involved in the lawsuit, a substantive judicial disposition of the lawsuit would resolve this question. GAO does not express views with respect to matters which are currently the subject of litigation. In the event the judicial disposition of the complaint does not resolve the question, GAO will be willing to consider the matter further.