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Audit: Postal Service made $1.3B in 'non-competitive purchases'

Sep. 25, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
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The U.S. Postal Service bought $1.3 billion worth of goods and services in recent years without resorting to competition, a new IG report said. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images)

The U.S. Postal Service bought $1.3 billion worth of goods and services in recent years without resorting to competition, according to a newly released inspector general’s audit . Of those “non-competitive purchases” made in fiscal 2011 and 2012, about $210 million (16 percent) lacked documentation to justify the use of a sole-source approach, the IG’s office estimated.

Employees also “were unaware of policy, did not explore all alternatives practicable in their justifications not to compete purchases, and did not always obtain required contract documents from international suppliers due to cultural and language barriers,” the audit report said.

“Without a documented price or cost analysis, management cannot attest to achieving best value for their purchases,” the report added.

USPS officials agreed with most of the inspector general’s recommended improvements, but also defended their handling of some specific projects. In the case of about $5.4 million worth of “technology infrastructure” purchases, for example, contracting officials said they determined the prices were fair and reasonable based on discussions with a research firm, but details of those conversations were not included in the contract files, the IG said.

For about $1.3 million in other equipment buys, contracting officials said they relied on USPS engineers to assess the reasonableness of the supplier’s proposed costs, but documentation of those assessments was again lacking, according to the report.

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