Government Printing Office Supply of Microfiche to Libraries Disrupted

GGD-89-44: Published: Feb 27, 1989. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Government Printing Office's (GPO) efforts to procure and supply microfiche copies of government documents to depository libraries to: (1) determine the reasons for delays in microfiche distribution to libraries; (2) determine whether GPO followed its procurement regulations in allowing a defaulted contractor to compete for subsequent contracts; and (3) assess GPO actions to correct the microfiche shortage problem.

GAO found that: (1) the microfiche shortage resulted from the primary contractor's default for poor performance, its subsequent protests of GPO actions, the time required to make preaward evaluations for replacement contractors, and the time required to ensure that the replacement microfiche met contract specifications; (2) GPO generally complied with its procurement policies; (3) although GPO terminated the primary contractor's contract, it did not require suspension or debarment from competion for later GPO contracts; (4) although the primary contractor bid on three of the nine replacement contracts, and received one award, it defaulted again due to poor performance; (5) the primary contractor protested two other contract awards it lost because of contracting officer decisions; (6) GPO had awarded three replacement contracts as of November 1988; and (7) despite the progress GPO made in acquiring replacement microfiche, the shortage was likely to continue because the replacement microfiche did not meet GPO standards, the contractors received formal warnings about the microfiche produced under the replacement contracts, much of the microfiche produced was backlogged waiting for GPO quality testing, and there was a large backlog of documents needing conversion to microfiche.

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