Thursday, September 8, 2016

16,000,000 Miles and What Do You Get?

The Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released an audit of the FBI's (Federal Bureau of Investigation's) contracts for bulk fuel purchases. The FBI spends about $2 million per year on bulk fuel purchases. That, by the way, is enough gas to take 33 round trips to the moon or 2,800 round trips from Los Angeles to New York. Indeed, $2 million buys a lot of gas.

The purpose of the audit was to determine whether the FBI adhered to federal regulations during the contract award and administration process, had adequate contract oversight, and was properly invoiced by vendors. If the FBI cannot award contracts following the FAR, what business does it have investigating FAR deviations by other agencies. Did they pass the audit? No, they did not.

The OIG audit disclosed several deficiencies including (i) no assurances that the Bureau received the best fuel prices, (ii) received the proper amount of fuel at the agreed upon price, and (iii) used fuel in the most efficient manner. What did the OIG find? The OIG found that the FBI did not award one of the  two fuel contracts under audit to a FAR specified mandatory source. Also, they bought premium grade fuel when only regular grade was needed.

Additionally, FBI contracting officers did not comply with FAR requirements for reviewing invoices or ensuring that the Bureau made timely payments to vendors, did not maintain complete contract files and made numerous errors in inputting information into the Federal Procurement Data System.

Although not specifically a contract compliance issue, the audit also identified that the fuel tanks in Miami were located 12 miles from the FBI office requiring a 30 minute drive to fuel vehicles and a commensurate waste of time. Additionally, the fuel tank was not adequately secured.

In response to the findings, the FBI, of course, promised to fix things promptly. You can read the entire audit report here.

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