Training Procurement:

Weaknesses Identified in NTSB Procurement Practices

OSI-94-20: Published: Jul 26, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) procurement of training courses provided by a specific contractor, focusing on whether NTSB: (1) kept incomplete records of training procurements; (2) circumvented procurement regulations when it split the contract into two separate purchase orders; (3) duplicated payments to the same instructor; (4) improperly accepted the misrepresentation of an instructor's qualifications; and (5) allowed instructors to use abusive training techniques in classes attended by NTSB employees.

GAO found that: (1) NTSB maintained incomplete records regarding the training courses obtained from the contractor; (2) NTSB did not seek adequate competition for the training courses and failed to provide adequate justification for awarding the contracts without competition; (3) NTSB improperly concealed the costs of the training courses by splitting the contract into several purchase orders and making payments using different account numbers, program codes, and instructor names; (4) NTSB officials did not question the contractor's qualifications because they were not required to verify instructor qualifications for the particular type of training involved; (5) some NTSB employees described the training as mandatory; (6) although some NTSB employees who attended the training courses reported that abusive training techniques were used, others described the courses in positive terms; and (7) a senior NTSB official failed to properly report reimbursement of travel expenses from a NTSB vendor.

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