Report | Feb. 12, 2015

Some Contracting Controls at Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Polk, Louisiana, Need Improvement

DODIG-2015-080

Objective

We determined whether Mission and Installation Contracting Command (MICC) controls for award, funding, and administration of contracts supporting Fort Polk, Louisiana, Directorate of Public Works functions were effective. This audit is in response to allegations of MICC contract mismanagement made to the Defense Hotline.

Findings

For the three contracts we reviewed, Fort Polk controls for funding contracts were generally effective, but controls for awarding and administering contracts needed improvement. A Fort Polk program official improperly authorized out-of?scope work; and a contracting official authorized out-of-scope work valued at $105,944, and Fort Polk contracting officials did not effectively monitor contract performance. These conditions occurred because the contracting officers at the time did not ensure contracting policies and procedures were implemented. In addition, Fort Polk contracting officials incorporated inappropriate construction-related Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clauses for work requirements that were maintenance and repair in nature and incorporated poorly defined performance work statements into the two contracts. This occurred because contracting staff were in a hurry to obligate expiring operations and maintenance (O&M) funds; MICC supervisory reviews were inadequate; and the contracting officer did not request legal reviews of proposed contract awards as required by Army policy. As a result, Fort Polk officials created an unauthorized commitment by improperly authorizing out-of-scope work on the Horton contract. Furthermore, controls over Fort Polk contract award and administration efforts should be strengthened to eliminate unnecessary risks associated with supporting the Fort Polk Directorate of Public Works function and ensure that the government receives what it paid for. We partially substantiated two of six Defense Hotline allegations. We found the other four allegations to be unsubstantiated.

Recommendations

We recommend the Commanders, MICC and Installation Management Command, respectively, review the contracting officers’ and project manager’s actions regarding one contract award and, as appropriate, initiate management or other actions to hold them accountable. We also recommend the Commander, MICC, determine whether the unauthorized commitment may be properly ratified in accordance with FAR 1.602-3; require detailed supervisory review of proposed contract awards; require contracting officers to take various actions to ensure thorough outside contract review; fully monitor contractor compliance, as required through regulation; and adopt several practices to ensure contracts specifically and accurately describe the projects to be undertaken.

Management Comments Required

The Commanders, MICC and Installation Management Command, did not respond to the recommendations in the report. We request that the Commanders provide comments on the final report.