While the General Services Administration announced stimulus projects last week, they have no time to rest. In fact, choosing the stimulus projects may have been the easiest part of the process.
The next step is contract procurement and administration. Due to staffing vacancies at the GSA, the administration process may prove difficult :
"Meanwhile, the ranks of contracting officers who make the day-to-day contracting decisions at the GSA have been shrinking since 2005, through attrition, outsourcing and a convoluted federal hiring process that many say discourages talented people from applying."
The GSA is not the only federal agency that is currently understaffed and tasked with administering billions in stimulus funds. The Department of Energy must figure out how to administer over $38 billion in stimulus funds and the DOE Office of the Inspector is being upfront about the difficulties the agency is facing:
"The infusion of these funds and the corresponding increase in effort required to ensure that they are properly controlled and disbursed in a timely manner will, without doubt, strain existing resources."
In reading the DOE Inspector General’s Report, it seems almost inevitable that some fraud will occur: "As the Recovery Act implementation proceeds, all parties should recognize that the potential risk of fraud increases dramatically when large blocks of funds are quickly disbursed."
How can these understaffed agencies avoid fraud?