Certain Personal Services Contracts Administered by the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations Are Unauthorized

ID-80-55: Published: Aug 8, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 1980.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO became aware of the practice of using contracts, rather than civil service appointing procedures, to obtain the services of administrative and support-type personnel in the headquarters of the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations (FBO). The work of these individuals is supervised by government employees. The functions they perform are similar to those performed by government employees whose positions are classified under the General Schedule. Their conditions of employment are for the most part indistinguishable from those of government employees.

GAO is of the opinion that the practice is not authorized by law or regulation. A statute authorizes the obtaining of architectural and other expert technical services only; the kinds of services described do not qualify as expert services under the prescribed criteria. The purpose of the law is to obtain services abroad, not in the Washington, D.C. area. These individuals occupy positions which should have been filled in accordance with civil service laws and not by contract. When it is economical, feasible, or necessary for reason of unusual circumstances to have purely personal services for the government performed by non-government parties, such services may be procured through proper contract arrangement. It is clear that the relationship between FBO and the individuals in question is an employer-employee relationship and that these individuals are not independent contractors. This being so, GAO believes that the services in question should have been obtained in accordance with civil service laws and that obtaining such services by contract is a violation of these laws.

Feb 3, 2021

Jan 29, 2021

Jan 19, 2021

Jan 13, 2021

Dec 16, 2020

Dec 9, 2020

Dec 3, 2020

Nov 30, 2020

Nov 24, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here