ACQUISITION AND PROCUREMENT: Weaknesses in Contract Oversight Pose Financial, Operational, and Legal Risks
This report assesses the extent to which the company has taken steps to ensure that contracting officers’ technical representatives (COTRs) conduct effective post-award contract oversight.
We identified weaknesses in Amtrak’s practices related to its COTRs who should provide day-to-day oversight of a contract which includes ensuring goods and services meet contract terms, invoices reflect the goods and services provided, and contractor performance is documented. Specifically, we found that Amtrak 1) lacks standards defining COTRs’ roles and responsibilities; 2) provides limited training for COTRs; 3) does not consistently make, communicate, or track COTR assignments; and 4) does not consistently hold COTRs accountable for their performance.
We recommended that Amtrak clarify and institutionalize the role of the COTR. This includes establishing contract oversight as a distinct function with defined roles and responsibilities for COTRs, providing them with training, holding them accountable for performing effectively, and better managing their assignments to ensure that the company consistently oversees contracts.