General Services Administration: Contract Guard Services at the Anchorage Federal Building

GAO-01-75 Published: Oct 10, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 10, 2000.
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Highlights

A company formed by security guards at the Anchorage, Alaska, Federal Office Building (AFOB) competed unsuccessfully for two contracts and later alleged bias and preselection by the General Services Administration (GSA) in the contract award process. However, GAO's review of relevant documentation and discussions with officials of GSA and the company that alleged the irregularities did not disclose any evidence of bias or preselection in GSA's award of these contracts. GSA appears to have inadvertently used an outdated Department of Labor (DOL) wage determination in its most recent contract because of a misunderstanding of the wage determination process and incorrect advice provided by DOL in 1999. On the basis of the substantial amount of information GAO was able to obtain, including documents and oral information from the guards and GSA officials, GAO concludes that GSA could have done more to respond to the guards' concerns and help ensure and document that the contractor was providing for the safety of federal employees and the security of federal facilities in accordance with the contract. Also, GSA could have done more to respond to the guards' repeated charges of unfair labor practices directed at this same contractor throughout most of the contract period. Contract performance was interrupted when the guards went on strike against the contractor. The strike potentially jeopardized security at AFOB and cost GSA an undetermined sum of money.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security The Administrator, GSA, should direct appropriate GSA officials to ensure that Region 10 contracting officers and other appropriate personnel, such as the Federal Protective Service program staff helping to administer security services contracts, are aware of their responsibility to take the steps necessary to bring appropriate federal or other resources to bear to help resolve conflicts between GSA contractors and their employees when there are indications that interruptions or other adverse effects on contracted services could result.
Closed - Implemented
Per a letter from GSA's Acting Administrator to the Comptroller General, dated January 4, 2001, GSA has completed action to implement this recommendation.
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security The Administrator, GSA, should direct appropriate GSA officials to ensure that the causes of the mistakes by Region 10 contracting officers, such as those that led to the use of the wrong overtime provisions on contracts, are determined and, if necessary, appropriate training and supervision are provided to help prevent these mistakes in the future.
Closed - Implemented
Per a letter dated January 4, 2001 to the Comptroller General, the Acting Administrator of GSA stated that the recommended action has been taken.
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security The Administrator, GSA, should direct appropriate GSA officials to ensure that an understanding is reached with the DOL on how wage determination revisions affect the blanket wage determination program.
Closed - Implemented
Based on documentation provided to GAO by its GSA liaison, action on this recommendation has been completed, effective July 31, 2002.
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security The Administrator, GSA, should direct appropriate GSA officials to ensure that GSA contracting officers at all locations where blanket wage determinations are used understand how the blanket wage determination program is affected by DOL's wage determination revisions.
Closed - Implemented
Per letter from GSA's Acting Administrator, dated January 4, 2001, action has been taken to complete this recommendation.
Directorate of Border and Transportation Security The Administrator, GSA, should direct appropriate GSA officials to ensure that GSA's contract for guard services in Anchorage reflects the correct wage rates and that the guards receive all the pay to which they may be entitled for the entire contract period.
Closed - Implemented
Per letter from GSA's Acting Administrator, dated January 4, 2001 to the Comptroller General, GSA has completed action on this recommendation.
Department of Labor The Secretary of Labor should have appropriate DOL officials advise federal agencies of the appropriate procedures to follow when wage rates covered by blanket wage determinations are revised.
Closed - Implemented
The Department of Labor took action to implement the recommendation.

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