An authorized certifying officer of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requested a decision regarding the propriety of paying an invoice for paving. A BLM regional office issued a purchase order for the paving to the firm which submitted the lowest of three orally solicited quotes. The certifying officer questioned the transaction contending that the procurement should have been formally advertised; labor standard provisions should have been included since the construction contract was over $2,000; and the amount of the purchase order was in excess of the district office's delegated procurement authority. Although the United States cannot be bound beyond the actual authority conferred upon its agents by statute or regulations, GAO has held that payment may be made on a quantum meruit basis for services rendered when it is shown that the Government received a benefit and the unauthorized action was expressly or impliedly ratified by authorized contracting officials. In this case the record indicated that the Government received a benefit, the amount of the invoice was considered reasonable, and an implied ratification might be inferred from the recommendation for payment by the regional office. GAO held that failure to include the labor standard provisions was not a bar to payment because the provisions were not included in the contract. Accordingly, payment on a quantum meruit basis for the amount claimed was allowed if otherwise proper and correct.
Skip to Highlights