Merit Systems Protection Board:

Costs Considered in Awarding Court Reporting Contracts

GGD-87-9BR: Published: Oct 20, 1986. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) court reporting contracts to determine: (1) whether a contract award the MSPB San Francisco Regional Office made for these services without considering the transcript costs that other government agencies or individuals purchased was an isolated incident, or whether other MSPB units regularly followed this practice; (2) whether there were other areas, such as scheduling hearings, where MSPB relied solely on its own costs; and (3) how MSPB procedures for evaluating costs for court reporting contracts and scheduling hearings compared with procedures other agencies used.

GAO found that: (1) MSPB generally awarded its court reporting contracts without considering costs to other government agencies or individuals; (2) this practice did not violate existing laws, as long as MSPB continued to ensure that appellants had access to copies of transcripts, whether written or recorded, at a reasonable cost; (3) the policy for holding hearings appeared to be a reasonable compromise to limit travel costs for MSPB and other parties; and (4) procedures for evaluating costs for court reporting contracts and scheduling hearings differed at the other agencies it contacted.

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