Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report assessing the United States Marshals Service (USMS) Judicial Security Division’s (JSD) management of and processes for procuring Court Security Officers (CSO) services contracts. The report focuses on USMS JSD contracts with private security companies to provide CSOs for 440 federal court facilities nationwide. It also assesses some of the steps that USMS JSD took to address issues identified in a 2009 OIG Management Advisory Memorandum to USMS JSD that identified significant concerns with the process for selecting and vetting CSO services contractors.
Today’s report from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) finds that the USMS JSD made certain changes to its CSO services contract procurement process to address issues identified by the OIG in 2009. For example, USMS improved continuity and consistency in providing CSO services by awarding CSO service contracts regularly, competitively, and in accordance with applicable regulations. USMS also revised its source selection strategy to mitigate risks related to awarding contracts based solely on price, and adding factors related to contractor performance and competence.
Despite these improvements, today’s report also describes several areas in which USMS could improve its current procurement process and mitigate the risk of repeating the issues we identified in 2009.
These areas include:
- Contract File Documentation. We found that CSO procurement actions are completed in a timely and competitive manner, and USMS JSD performed adequate market research. However, we determined that contract files did not have consistent documentation of acquisition milestones. We also found that neither the contract files nor the written acquisition plan documented why time-and-materials contracts were used, rather than a firm-fixed-price contract, which carries less risk for the government.
- Federal Acquisition Regulation Clauses. In recent CSO services contracts, USMS JSD did not include two important Federal Acquisition Regulation clauses that allow the government to audit costs associated with the contract and to identify what costs and payment procedures will be allowable under the contract.
- Contractor Responsibility. USMS JSD adequately documented the basis for its contractor selection. However, we also found that USMS JSD is not evaluating the necessary accounting controls to ensure that prospective contractors meet standards required by federal regulations.
Today’s report makes 5 recommendations to the USMS to improve its CSO services contract procurement process. The USMS agreed with all of our recommendations.