Still No Progress in Implementing Controls Over Contracts and Grants With Indians

CED-81-122: Published: Sep 10, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1981.

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GAO was asked to review the accountability of federal funds and property involving contracts and grants awarded for the benefit of Indians.

A GAO review of 178 grants and contracts disclosed that the Bureau of Indian Affairs continues to have problems administering and monitoring Indian programs and accounting for federal funds. GAO found that 141 contracts and grants were awarded retroactively, resulting in expenditure of federal funds over which the Federal Government has little or no control. Contracts and grants that the Bureau awarded to Indian tribes did not always have adequate criteria for measuring tribal performance. Thus, the Bureau cannot evaluate program results and properly audit the use of federal funds. Contract and grant monitoring has been hampered by part-time supervision, inadequate monitoring of reports, little personnel training, and insufficient auditing. The Bureau was not requiring some tribes to submit timely expense vouchers which justified cash withdrawals under their letters of credit. Two Indian tribes did not have adequate control over federal contract and grant funds which resulted in improper expenditure of funds, funds being transferred between federal contract and grant programs, inadequate supporting expenditures, and improper reimbursements. GAO noted a potential conflict of interest between the program-related duties of the contract/grant officer representatives and their procurement-related duties of monitoring and reporting on tribal performance. Five of the nine tribes which GAO reviewed had inadequate or no property management systems. As a result, the tribes do not have adequate controls for the government property in their possession.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: During its authorization, oversight, and appropriation deliberations, Congress should require the Secretary of the Interior to report on the progress made in implementing the recommendations of GAO.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to require that all contract and grant agreements include specific criteria against which to measure performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to terminate a contract or grant where tribal performance constitutes grounds for termination under the pertinent statute.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to prohibit award of contracts in which the starting date precedes the date of award.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to enforce compliance with the letter-of-credit procedures. This should include: (1) precluding tribes from obtaining cash in excess of their immediate needs; (2) requiring the tribes to submit timely expense vouchers; and (3) revoking the letter-of-credit authority for tribes that fail to comply with the letter-of-credit procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to require monitoring of tribal letter-of-credit withdrawals on each contract or grant to ensure that a tribe does not withdraw more than the amount authorized by the contract or grant.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to require the Bureau to arrange with certified public accounting firms for annual financial audits of contracts and grants with Indian tribes.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  7. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to prohibit, where no law specifically permits carryover of funds, the practice of using prior fiscal year funds to pay for goods and services that are to be provided in the subsequent fiscal year unless the services are part of a contract which is not feasible to divide between fiscal years.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  8. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to prohibit award of contract modifications without a request from the tribe and a corresponding increase in the work statement or in the amount of services to be provided.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  9. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to require tribes to submit appropriate financial and program progress reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  10. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to revise the Bureau of Indian Affairs policies, procedures, and practices to require tribes to develop adequate property management systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  11. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to consider three possible alternative organizational structures for the Bureau. Also, the reorganization should include establishing full-time contract administrators that report directly to the contracting officer.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  12. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Health Services Administration to revise Indian Health Service policies, procedures, and practices as appropriate to require that all contract and grant agreements include specific criteria against which to measure performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  13. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Health Services Administration to revise Indian Health Service policies, procedures, and practices to terminate a contract or grant where tribal performance constitutes grounds for termination under the pertinent statute.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  14. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Health Services Administration to revise Indian Health Service policies, procedures, and practices to prohibit award of contracts in which the starting date precedes the date of award.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  15. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Health Services Administration to revise Indian Health Service policies, procedures, and practices to require tribes to develop adequate property management systems.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  16. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Health Services Administration to revise Indian Health Service policies, procedures, and practices to require tribes to submit appropriate financial and program progress reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

 

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