FLRA’s contract management system lacked documents, OIG says
The agency that oversees labor-management relations for the federal government was missing key information from its acquisition files and previously “had no formal contract file management policy in place,” according to leadership.
The independent agency tasked with overseeing labor issues within the federal government has been operating a contract file management system with incomplete records and was not compliant with federal regulations, according to a new report published Thursday.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority’s inspector general reported that the agency’s system failed to maintain policy and procedures in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, officials appointed to the agency within the last two years told the OIG “that FLRA had no formal contract file management policy in place or official contract files either in analog or digital format” prior to their arrival.
FAR regulations require that agencies keep records of all contractual actions and reflect the complete history of the procurement, including, the OIG said, “planning, negotiation, award, administration and close-out” details of each contract.
The FLRA’s Administrative Services Division director and newly appointed contracting officer each told the OIG when they started their jobs in 2021 and 2022, respectively, that the agency lacked a formal contract file management policy and official files.
The pair said they began to cobble together acquisition information “on an as needed basis from prior files preserved on prior employee computers and emails and other sources” to establish some measure of a contract filing system.
The OIG examined 19 contracts made in December 2022, worth approximately $9.5 million, finding key documentation missing from four contracts in particular.
Among some of the missing documents were a set-aside justification, contract proposal, synopsis of a procurement, proposals from winning and losing bidders, sole-source justification, evidence of competition and a source selection.
“Complete contract files also make it possible for oversight of the procurement,” the report said. “For example, on two separate occasions that were unrelated to this review, documents that should have been in FLRA’s contract files were not available. These documents had to be requested from the contractor on both occasions. It is difficult to conduct oversight on procurements if pertinent contract documentation is not maintained by FLRA.”
The ASD director and contracting officer told the OIG that they were developing an electronic contract file management system and new policies and procedures, providing the watchdog with a draft on May 1.
The OIG offered two recommendations, including finalizing the contract file management policy and adding to it stipulations that all relevant correspondence be placed in the file in chronological order and that the policy separates closed-out contracts from other ongoing contract files.
FLRA officials concurred with both recommendations and said they would move to finalize the new policy.