A complaint filed with U.S. Labor Department’s Office of the Inspector General in January says that Mr. Aung Htein, a federal employee and GS-15 Director in the Office of Technology at the Department of Labor has been working secretly with contractors to allegedly violate multiple sections of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) including sections 1.602-2(b) which requires that federal government contracting officers ensure that contractors receive impartial, fair, and equitable treatment, and section 3.303(c)(7) of the regulation which prohibits the filing of a joint bid by two or more competitors when at least one of the competitors has sufficient technical capability and productive capacity for contract performance.
The January complaint, which has been obtained exclusively by C.H. states that in early 2015, a contractor was awarded a multi-year technology contract under a blanket purchase agreement to modernize all the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s information technology applications including the national apprenticeship program and other systems used by the Labor Department to manage approximately $8 billion in taxpayer funded grants that are disbursed each year across the country to support Obama administration priorities.
The complaint says that in June 2015, the same contractor was also awarded a one year services contract as a sole source provider for data integration. Both contracts involved the acquisition and deployment of Amazon Web Services and a variety of other software to be used for technology modernization.
The complaint goes on to say that during the month of January 2016, Aung Htein represented himself as the contracting officer illegally by requesting proposals from competitors to these contracts, and even paid the contractors hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for the development of illegal proposals for work, despite the fact that the contractor who was already awarded the work says it was fully capable of completing the job. The complaint says that Mr. Htein held secret proposal and bid evaluation meetings with some of these contractors, and that he has shared competitor pricing information that he used to evaluate the proposals to try to find ways to award the other contractors modernization work.
The complaint concludes that as a result of Mr. Htein’s incompetence, systems development has been delayed screwing the taxpayers out of more than $5 million in unnecessary cost overruns, and the systems that Mr. Htein was to modernize this year won’t be delivered on schedule or within budget as planned in July – and chances are these systems will never get delivered if he remains in charge.
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