Need For and Plans To Strengthen Procurement and Property Management Controls at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Laboratories

PSAD-80-66: Published: Aug 18, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1980.

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GAO reviewed the procedures and controls designed to prevent fraud, abuse, and waste in selected procurement and property management operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

GAO found a serious lack of adherence to procedures and controls prescribed by Federal Procurement and Property Management Regulations. At the National Severe Storms Laboratory, deficiencies existed in approving purchase requests, ordering and receiving goods and services, and soliciting competitive prices. This lack of adherence to prescribed procedures could leave the small purchase system vulnerable to abuse and contributed to the laboratory's overspending its allocated funds. At the NOAA Procurement Office, deficiencies existed in preparing contract solicitations, performing price or cost analyses, preparing memorandums of contract negotiations, requiring timely audits of contractor costs, controlling contractor-purchased Government property, and using contracts having illegal cost-plus-a-percentage-of-cost type features.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should support the efforts of NOAA officials to strengthen their controls over local procurement and supply management functions and direct NOAA to furnish GAO with periodic progress reports on the status of those implementation efforts. He should also see to it that NOAA does not delay another 6 months before documenting the required price or cost analyses on negotiated contracts. He should direct NOAA to stop using illegal cost-plus-a-percentage-of-cost type contractual arrangements and recover all sums which were improperly paid under such arrangements. The Inspector General should be directed to determine whether the case of cost-plus-a-percentage-of-cost arrangement which GAO discovered is only an isolated instance or whether there is widespread use of this illegal contract type in the Department of Commerce.

    Agency Affected:

 

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