Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise

  Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise
    By Robert O’Harrow Jr.
    The Washington Post    Wednesday 22 August 2007

Use of favored firms a common shortcut.

    Under pressure from the White House and Congress to deliver a long-delayed plan last year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security’s counter-narcotics office took a shortcut that has become common at federal agencies: They hired help through a no-bid contract.

    And the firm they hired showed them how to do it.

    Scott Chronister, a senior official in the Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement, reached out to a former colleague at a private consulting firm for advice. The consultant suggested that Chronister’s office could avoid competition and get the work done quickly under an arrangement in which the firm “approached the government with a ‘unique and innovative concept,’ ” documents and interviews show.

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    A contract worth up to $579,000 was awarded to the consultant’s firm in September.

    Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract illustrates the government’s steady move away from relying on competition to secure the best deals for products and services.

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