Audit of the Department of Energy`s management of field contractor employees assigned to headquarters and other federal agencies [report]

1997 unpublished
In early 1995, the Secretary of Energy introduced the Department's Strategic Alignment Implementation Plan. This plan committed the Department to reducing its reliance on support service contracts by about $90 million annually. In September 1995, the Secretary issued a memorandum reemphasizing the Department's commitment to the reduction and stated that the Department's management and operating contractors "should not be assigned at the Department's request to provide services that are
more » ... s that are tangential to their expertise and their missions in order to compensate for the reduction in support service contracting." In July 1996, the OEce of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report, Audit of the Deprtment of Energy Program ODces' Use of Management and Operating Contractor Employees. This report identified weaknesses in the Department's monitoring of employees in Headquarters and recommended that the Department define activities that may be performed by laboratory employees; develop a system to monitor placement of laboratory employees within Department program offices; and evaluate the budgetary impacts of continuing support by laboratory employees. In response to the report, the Deputy Secretary issued a memorandum in August 1996 reiterating the Secretary's concerns and requesting a thorough review of the contractor employees at Headquarters to ensure that they were not being used inappropriately. DISCUSSION The Department did not effectively manage the use of field contractor employees assigned to Headquarters and other Federal agencies. Specifically, the Department was unable to identifjl all contractor employees assigned to the Washington, DC area or determine the total cost of maintaining them. Some employees were providing routine support and administrative services rather than unique program expertise, and several of the Department's contractors have assigned their employees to work in other agencies without receiving h J J reimbursement for their seMces. 2 In addition, the Department did not fblly implement the corrective actions proposed as a result of the prior audit report. This O C C U K~ because the Department had not established a baseline of critical skills needed fiom the contractors, and procedures were not in place or were not followed for the review and approval of the assignment of each contractor employee to the Washington, DC area. Furthermore, contractors could assign their own employees to the Washington, DC area without the knowledge of the hnding program, and program offices were augmenting their decreasing Federal and support service staffwith field contractor employees. Since the issuance of the Inspector General's initial draft report in AuLust 1997, the Office of Procurement and Assistance Management (Procurement) rcdved updated information fiom both the Headquarters program offices and the field on the field contractor employees in the Washington, DC area. These responses enabled Procurement to expand its database to include 690 field contractor employees in the Washington, DC areal. After performing a reconciliation of its data and the data collected by the Inspector General, a total of 864 field contractor employees in the Washington, DC area as of March 3 1, 1997, were identified--57 more than we initially inventoried. The issues raised were previously conveyed directly to the ;Deputy Secretary in a draft report. During the audit, the Deputy Secretary consistently expressed a determination to improve the Department's management of field contractor employee assignments. In her response to the draft report, the Deputy Secretary generally agreed with the recommendations and stated that management had initiated corrective action. The Office of Human Resources and Administration also cooperated with the OIG and assisted the Deputy Secretary in her response. We are also transmitting this final report to the Deputy Secretary. The recommendations are directed to her due to: (1) the need for involvement by both Headquarters program offices and field elements; (2) the
doi:10.2172/561215 fatcat:vbfv572lzve4dcyk5im2633poi