After pushing the Air Force last year to recoup $4.3 million spent on repairs caused by poor contractor work, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is now proposing that all agencies explain why they decide not to take action against poorly performing contractors in Afghanistan.
The bill, S. 3505, would require agencies to explain to Congress why they do not act on recommendations by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to recoup money from poorly performing contractors, when the SIGAR’s recommendations would result in at least $500,000 in savings.
The bill would cover instances when the agency fails to respond, disagrees with the SIGAR or only accepts part of the SIGAR’s recommendations to seek reimbursement for a contractor or subcontractor’s failure to complete a construction contract due to poor contractor performance, cost-overruns or other reasons.
Shaheen, D-N.H., who sits on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, pushed the Air Force last year to follow the SIGAR’s October 2011 recommendations to seek reimbursement from London-based AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. The SIGAR found that sub-standard construction by AMEC was to blame for electrical failures that cost $4.3 million to repair.
The Air Force initially rejected the inspector general’s recommendation to seek a refund from the contractor, but the Air Force agreed to open a new investigation after Shaheen intervened.
“The United States government has an obligation to the American people to ensure that our resources are used in a cost-effective manner,” Shaheen said in a press release, after the Air Force decided in July that AMEC should reimburse the government for the repairs. “Government contractors must be held accountable when they cut corners.”