GAO report

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GAO: 2 agencies awarding SBA contracts to businesses owned by venture capital firms

Two of the agencies participating in a Small Business Administration innovation program opted to open the program to small businesses that are majority-owned by venture capital firms, says a Nov. 20 Government Accountability Office report. The Health and Human Services Department and the Energy Department opted to open part of their Small Business Innovation Research programs to small businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital or similar firms, allowing such companies to apply for and receive SBIR awards, the report says.

EPA paid eight employees more than $1M to not work, internal investigation finds

The Environmental Protection Agency has paid more than $1 million to eight employees on administrative leave, including two workers who have been collecting salaries and benefits for four years, the inspector general says in a Nov. 19 early warning report.

GAO: OPM underestimated time feds spent working on union business

The Office of Personnel Management could have understated the amount of time federal employees are conducting union business on the clock, a recently released Oct. 23 Government Accountability Office report says. OPM found in 2012 that the cost of federal employees conducting union business during official time across 62 agencies came in at about $157.2 million for about 3.44 million hours, the report says.

GAO: VHA doesn't know if medical centers prepared to implement staffing methodology

The Veterans Health Administration didn't properly assess each Veterans Affairs Department medical center to see if they were prepared to implement methodology for how to properly staff their nursing units, a recently released Oct. 16 Government Accountability Office report says. That means VHA doesn't know if each medical center has the nurse staffing that is adequate to meet veterans' "growing and increasingly complex health care needs," GAO says.

GAO: 2013 shutdown affected contract and grants programs at some agencies

The 2013 government shutdown impacted operations at three agencies the Government Accountability Office reviewed including closures of clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health, a recently released Oct. 15 GAO report says. GAO reviewed programs at the Health and Human Services Department, Energy Department and Transportation Department and found the October 2013 lapse in appropriations significantly hindered some programs at those agencies.

FDA not testing fruits and vegetables for most commonly used pesticides, GAO says

The Food and Drug Administration doesn't test for some of the most commonly used pesticides when it looks into the amount of residue left on fruits and vegetables, says a Government Accountability Office report released Oct. 7. And the agency isn't releasing that information in their annual monitoring reports, according to congressional investigators.

GAO: VA not ensuring vets get outpatient specialty care

The Veterans Affairs Department hasn't ensured that veterans receive outpatient specialty care in a timely manner, if at all, a recently released Sept. 30 Government Accountability Office report says. Based on its review of consults requested from April 2013 through September 2013, GAO found that for 122 of the 150 consults reviewed, care providers did not provide veterans with the requested care in accordance with VHA's 90-day timeliness guideline.

USDA departments need better contract management, GAO finds

Three Agriculture Department agencies failed to use preferred contracts in the procurement of professional services for about two-thirds of the funds assigned for such purchases from fiscal 2009 to 2013, the Government Accountability Office found. That amounts to about $783 million of the nearly $1.8 billion USDA set aside in that time frame for professional services contracts, according to GAO's report (pdf). USDA's Departmental Management, Food and Nutrition Service, and Forest Service account for about 70 percent of the department's total obligations for professional service contracts, but only about 37 percent of the funds were awarded via performance-based, firm-fixed-price contracts, the kinds that the

GAO: Some agencies not meeting customer service standards

None of the five agencies that the Government Accountability Office surveyed met all key elements of the government's customer service standards, an Oct. 24 report says.

GAO: New USPS service standards have slowed down mail delivery across country

The U.S. Postal Service's recent changes to its service standards have resulted in slower mail delivery across the country, says a recently released Government Accountability Office report.