Issuance of Sole Source Purchase Order and Sole Source Contract by the Council of Environmental Quality

B-197868(2): Published: Nov 21, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 21, 1980.

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GAO was asked to review a sole-source purchase order and a sole-source contract issued by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for a study of the decertification of the United States. The purchase order was for a preliminary report identifying the salient issues relating to decertification; the contract was for a report suitable for publication on decertification. The record showed that CEQ has not provided a justification for the sole source procurement of either the purchase order or the contract. CEQ merely stated that the awardee was well qualified to perform the initial task represented by the purchase order and that it was asked to rapidly develop a comprehensive policy and strategy to deal with domestic decertification problems. CEQ also stated that the contract was issued to the awardee because it would have been wasteful to contract with another in view of the knowledge that the awardee had acquired as a result of having performed the preliminary work under the purchase order. GAO held that, since CEQ did not show that only the awardee could perform the services requested by either the purchase order or the contract within a required timeframe, the agency has not provided an adequate sole-source justification. CEQ should have obtained its needs through the use of competitive negotiation procedures. However, GAO felt that no remedial action was appropriate since the services have been completed and the Government has received the benefit of the services.

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