School & District Management A Washington Roundup

Audit: Research Agency Was Lax on Monitoring of Some Contracts

By Debra Viadero — January 09, 2007 1 min read

The Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences did not properly monitor some of its research contracts during the 2005 fiscal year, according to a recent federal audit.

The investigation was part of a routine audit conducted last year by the department’s inspector general. The auditors reviewed the research agency’s 10 biggest contracts, for which the institute had made $194 million in payments that fiscal year, and found dozens of instances in which employees had failed to ensure that contractors fulfilled their contract requirements or met their deadlines.

The Dec. 14 report says, for example, that institute officials sometimes came up short by not preparing written evaluations of contractor reports or not issuing timely award letters to contractors. Investigators also faulted the institute for failing to detect unapproved expenses in contractors’ reports.

In a written response to the report, Lawrence Warder, the institute’s chief financial officer, and Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, its director, concurred with the auditors’ findings. They said steps had been taken to correct the problems. The institute will also conduct training next month to reacquaint contracting-office staff members with proper monitoring procedures.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2007 edition of Education Week

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