State Department:

Procurement of Household Furnishings for Personnel Overseas

NSIAD-89-136: Published: May 22, 1989. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1989.

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Joseph E. Kelley
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of State's selection criteria to determine if State awarded its current household furniture contract for overseas diplomatic posts appropriately and in a manner consistent with other agencies' furniture procurement.

GAO found that: (1) State awarded its current furniture contract based on highly subjective criteria, rather than cost; (2) State officials could not fully support their reasons for emphasizing factors other than cost in their evaluation criteria; (3) other federal agencies have typically awarded furniture contracts on the basis of criteria that emphasized cost as the primary factor; and (4) the current State contract will cost the government as much as $8 million more over the life of the contract than if cost had been the primary basis for award.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: State has received approval from GSA to extend the contract through September 1990. At that point, the contract will be terminated by State. GSA will issue a new solicitation to meet State's subsequent furniture requirements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should not exercise next year's option of the current contract but instead, with General Services Administration (GSA) approval, solicit offers for a new contract to meet State's future requirements for household furnishings and make the selection from among acceptable competing offers based on more appropriate criteria, such as a much greater consideration of cost.

    Agency Affected: Department of State


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