Contract Award Practices:

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Generally Observes Competitive Principles

RCED-93-63: Published: Feb 8, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1993.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's (MWAA) contracting practices.

GAO found that: (1) the MWAA process for awarding contracts for goods, services, and construction projects is competitive but highly focused on soliciting vendors in the Washington, D.C. area; (2) MWAA awarded firm, fixed-price contracts for goods, services, and construction to the lowest bidder that met the required technical specifications and standards described in the solicitation; (3) in some instances, MWAA used a two-step solicitation method for design and construction contracts by requesting and evaluating the qualifications of prospective contractors before issuing the solicitation; (4) MWAA awarded architectural/engineering service contracts after evaluating each bidder's capability and qualifications to perform the services; (5) some of the criteria used to evaluate proposals could be interpreted as unnecessarily restrictive by potential bidders; (6) existing MWAA contracting policies do not establish who is responsible for deciding whether solicitation evaluation criteria are appropriate; (7) 23 percent of the contracts reviewed were appropriately awarded as sole-source contracts; (8) announcements for contracts were routinely published in a newspaper, but only two were published outside the Washington, D.C., area; (9) solicitations for concession services contracts are advertised both nationally and locally because of the need to attract national businesses; and (10) MWAA has not published its procedures for awarding contracts.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure full and open competition in contracting opportunities, MWAA should finalize and make available detailed procedures for awarding contracts for goods, services, and construction valued at over $200,000 and concession contracts. MWAA procedures should include provisions that prevent the use of evaluation criteria that may be inappropriate to MWAA needs.

    Agency Affected: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: MWAA has revised its contracting policy and procedures manual to include language that allows contracting officials to be the final authority over the type of evaluation criteria for each contract solicitation. The Board of Directors approved the revised manual on December 1, 1993.

    Recommendation: To ensure full and open competition in contracting opportunities, MWAA should finalize and make available detailed procedures for awarding contracts for goods, services, and construction valued at over $200,000 and concession contracts. MWAA procedures should include provisions that ensure that the Board of Directors approves all contracts for which approval is required.

    Agency Affected: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On December 1, 1993, the Board of Directors approved MWAA's revised contracting policy and procedures manual, which allows contracting officials to be the final authority over the type of evaluation criteria for each contract solicitation.

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