series of draft rules
published on Tuesday in the Federal Register detail several new reporting
requirements for contractors and procurement officials disbursing stimulus
prime contractors going forward will have to submit detailed public reports to
the government on the services they are providing and the jobs they are
creating using Recovery Act funds, according to one of the regulations.
Another rule would
require acquisition officials to publish notices on contracts worth more than
$25,000 in a format that's easy for the public to understand before they are
the interim rules take effect on March 31, the final regulations will be
published this summer after the end of the comment period on June 1.
proposed requirements are aimed at holding contractors and procurement
officials highly accountable for contracts related to the $787 billion stimulus
package. They build off the Feb. 18 guidelines
by the Office of Management and Budget provided to federal agencies.
regardless of size or type of business ownership, will be required to report
quarterly on their use of stimulus funds via an online tool being developed at www.federalreporting.gov. The rule
applies to contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold,
generally less than $100,000, and to products available commercially.
reports must include the dollar amount of each invoice, the supplies or
services delivered, and the timeline for completing the contract. Contractors
also have to describe clearly how the stimulus money affects employment,
including an estimate of new jobs created and retained as a result of the
burdensome requirements are imposed on first-tier subcontractors, who only need
to report basic information about their DUNS identification number, address and
the performance location of the award.
first reports are due by July 10, and must be submitted thereafter no later
than the 10th day after the end of each calendar quarter. Contracting officers
will not be responsible for verifying the information in the contractor's
report, only that a report was submitted.
draft rules, however, do spell out additional reporting responsibilities for
the procurement workforce.
officials must post pre-award notices for all orders exceeding $25,000 that describe
the supplies and services requested "in a narrative that is clear and
unambiguous to the general public." And they will have to provide a
rationale to the public for any contract action -- regardless of dollar amount
-- that are not fixed-price and competitive.
rule applies to contracts awarded using small business set-asides. Awards
issued through the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Schedule,
however, will be considered competitive and therefore exempt.
Executive review of initial contracts issued using Recovery Act funds
showed that several agencies were making use of GSA schedules and agency
blanket purchase agreements.
Recovery Act interim rules issued Tuesday:
employers from firing, demoting or discriminating against
whistleblowers who alert the government to questionable uses of stimulus
funds. Contractors who refuse to abide by this rule will not be eligible
for stimulus contracts. A provision that would have protected federal
whistleblowers was removed prior to the passage of the Recovery Act
that all construction,
repair or maintenance projects use only iron, steel and manufactured
goods produced in the United States. The rule provides a number of narrow
exceptions and waivers, such as cases when goods are not available
domestically, or if the local price is not reasonable
the Government Accountability Office with the authority to audit
both contracts and subcontracts related to the stimulus, and to interview
contractor and subcontractor employees. The same rights, except the
ability to interview subcontractor workers, are granted to inspectors
general. A spokeswoman for Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery
Accountability and Transparency Board, said the 1978 Inspector General Act
"allows IGs to investigate as deep as they need on any issue, and no
guidance can trump that."
federal government estimated that it will award about $80 billion in Recovery
Act awards to more than 20,000 prime contractors and 60,000 first-tier
subcontractors. Roughly 20 percent of the prime contractors and about 25
percent of the subcontractors will be small businesses, the Federal Register