In our ongoing series about the disposition of our $700B (and counting), two more contracts, each for about three years (just shy of that) have been awarded, one to PriceWaterhouseCoopers ($191,469.27) and one to Ernst & Young (($492,006.95). Check out our pages on the "2008 Financial Crisis," and the updated OrgScope map. For those with long memories, there used to be a lot of firms like these two but, as one family wag put it a few years back, we're down to the Final Four. From the Oct 21 press release (I've inserted links to the actual contracts):
Both contracts are "Blanket Purchase Agreements," which give the government authority to issue "task orders" against which the contractor performs and permit the extension of contracts over a broad range of services without having to go back out for competitive bid. You can quickly see the pluses and minuses of this arrangement: it reduces bureaucratic bottlenecks as the bidding process can take forever and result in lowest-cost but not necessarily highest-quality awardees; it increases the opportunity for most-favorite-contractor awards resulting in highest-cost but not necessarily highest-quality awardees. The way around this, of course, is as much transparency as possible and, naturally, truly ethical participants on both sides.
OK. The PWC contract as linked to the Treasury website says practically nothing about what it will do and appears to be a filled-out government form with redacted information (again). The E&Y contract, a retyped version of the same form as PWC's, is for accounting services and contains more detail. It also has redacted info, but in E&Y's case, it says ""Redacted," whereas in the PWC contract it's just blacked out. Here's the Treasury-ese for what they're doing:
Neither agreement, as posted, contains its attachments where are their price and technical quotes. Because of this, we can't tell what the approximately $700K total is for or whether these two awards cover a week, a month, or a year of work. We're not objecting to obscuring the financial details here. Indeed, we don't publish our rates. But without more detail, it limits insight into the organization, number of people involved, their expertise, or what specifically they're going to be doing--and how they're going about it. We need to make the work of these organizations transparent, not just the contractual vehicles. What do you think?