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Government and People
|GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
Concerning the Results of Office of the Inspector General
On June 8, 1999, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received a compliant alleging that a District employee had improperly procured the services of two contractors. It was specifically alleged that during the period, January through June 1999, this employee had procured services from Contractor A in the amount of $5,500.00 and Contractor B in the amount of $14,000.00 without a valid contract. During the initial stages of the investigation, it was further alleged that this employee gave preferential treatment to Contractor A by attempting to issue a sole source contract to this firm in the amount of $48,528.74.
Based on the information received, the OIG accepted for investigation, the following issues:
1. Did the District employee violate District regulations by procuring services, on behalf of a District agency, from Contractor A, without a valid contract?
The investigation established that the employee contacted and arranged numerous meetings with Contractor A. During these meetings, all aspects of an impending information technology (IT) project were discussed in detail. At the request of the employee, the contractor performed services for a District agency on two separate occasions. The cost of these services was $2,500.00 and $3,000.00 respectively. Based on the evidence developed during this investigation, this Office found the actions of the employee to be in violation of DCPM, Chapter 18, §1803.1 (e), "making a government decision outside officials channels." Accordingly, this allegation was SUBSTANTIATED.
2. Did the District employee violate District regulations by providing or otherwise sharing confidential information with Contractor A?
The investigation determined that the employee, during discussions with contractor A, provided verbal and written materials outlining the current and future IT needs of a District agency. On at least one occasion, the contractor was allowed to review numerous purchase orders for IT equipment and made specific recommendations to the employee as to which items should or should not be purchased. This Office concluded that the detailed information provided by the employee, gave contractor A substantial inside knowledge of the goals, objectives and technical requirements for the IT project being planned by the District agency. It was further determined that contractor A, subsequently submitted a bid on the contract for this IT project when it was let for bids. The actions of the employee in providing this information to contractor A constitute a violation of DCPM, Chapter 18, §1803.1 (f). This section prohibits certain activities by District employees, including "divulging any official government information to any unauthorized person or in advance of the time prescribed for its authorized issuance, or otherwise making use of or permitting others to make use of information not available to the general public." Accordingly, this allegation was SUBSTANTIATED.
3. Did the employee violate District regulations by procuring services on behalf of a District agency from Contractor B without a valid contract?
The investigation determined that the employee, in June 1999, procured services from contractor B in the amount of $16,000 without a valid contract. It was determined that the employee failed to follow District contracting procedures and in taking unilateral action, violated DCPM, Chapter 18, §1803.1 (e), "making a government decision outside officials channels". Accordingly, this allegation was SUBSTANTIATED.
4. Did the employee violate District regulations by giving preferential treatment to Contractor A?
The investigation determined that the employee had a close working relationship with contractor A prior to the contractor's involvement in the IT project of a District agency. Further, the employee met on 15 to 20 different occasions with contractor A. During these meetings, the employee discussed the scope and magnitude of the pending IT project and shared confidential information with the contractor that was not available to other potential bidders. Therefore, contractor A was provided an unfair competitive advantage over other bidders on this project. In addition, the investigation determined that the employee attempted improperly to sole source the IT contract to contractor A. This Office concluded that the actions of the employee constitute preferential treatment towards contractor A, in violation of DCPM, Chapter 18, §1803.1(b). Accordingly, this allegation was SUBSTANTIATED.
As a result of this investigation, the Inspector General recommended that:
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