A new report from the General Services Administration's Inspector-General (IG) says managers of the telecommunications division in the agency's Pacific Rim Region don't know what's in their inventory, what they are paying for some of it, or even, at least recently, who is in charge of the shop that does the buying.
The Pacific Rim region of GSA services government departments, including the military, at facilities in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada, as well as overseas in American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Diego Garcia, Guam, mainland Japan and Okinawa, the Republic of Korea, Saipan, and Singapore, according to its web site.
The telecommunications division essentially buys telephone lines and related services and products used by military bases, federal courthouses and other federal civilian facilities. According to the IG, the Pacific Rim office it is responsible for 42,300 telephone lines.
The basic problem is that, although the responsible GSA operation has "an inventory of recurring services provided to customers, it cannot demonstrate that this inventory is accurate or reliable."
In other words, they don't know what they have and they can't prove that what they think they have is actually there.
The GSA IG also noted these problems: "(1) a number of line items are no longer in service; (2) the contract vehicle (local services acquisition contract or tariff agreement4) used to procure monthly services cannot be readily identified; (3) some items may be non-recurring services; and (4) other recurring service line items notated in the 'Need Inventory Correction' and 'No Inventory' tabs could not be verified."
Ouch! But wait, it gets worse, much worse.
The IG says the main reason for this problem is the responsible GSA managers, employees and contractors aren't updating their sales transactions in the government's tracking system.
"As a result, some customer agencies may be paying for terminated telecommunication services while others may be paying higher prices under tariff agreements for services that are available under the lower priced local services acquisition contracts."
The IG also faulted GSA senior managers for failing to insure proper training for the responsible supervisors and employees, and for failing to implement a compliance program on the work of contractors who generate a third of the sales transactions.
For more, go here under "What's New" for the full GSA IG report.