Contractors’ Reporting of Jobs Created Using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Dollars
To verify the number of jobs reported as created or retained by Social Security Administration (SSA) contractors who received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) awards as of the quarters ended September 30, 2009 and December 31, 2009.
The Recovery Act was designed to save and create jobs as well as cushion the economic downturn. The Recovery Act oversight requirements call for any recipient of Recovery Act funds directly from a Federal agency to submit a report to FederalReporting.gov not later than 10 days after the end of each calendar quarter. The information in the report includes, among other things, an estimate of the number of jobs created and the number of jobs retained by the contractor.To view the full report, visit http://www.ssa.gov/oig/ADOBEPDF/A-15-10-21096.pdf
According to SSA, 15 contractors provided SSA goods and/or services funded with Recovery Act dollars as of December 31, 2009. Based on our verification of the number of jobs reported as created or retained by nine contractors who received SSA Recovery Act dollars, we determined eight of the nine contractors reported jobs created or retained in a manner inconsistent with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. Contractors’ errors resulted from their misinterpretation of OMB guidance. SSA reviews contractors’ job creation reports, and its quality review procedures comply with OMB standards. However, SSA’s quality reviews are not designed to detect, and did not detect, the types of errors we found in our detailed study.
Matters for Consideration
Contracting officers should continue their communication with Recovery Act contractors emphasizing that “jobs created or retained” are to be reported as hours worked and paid for with Recovery Act funds, unless the guidance is modified to require otherwise. The Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAG) should enhance guidance issued to Recovery Act contractors to ensure they understand OMB reporting requirements with attention to reporting jobs created or retained. Finally, given the number of reporting errors we discovered, OAG should consider periodically validating the jobs reported by Recovery Act contractors.