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U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Pilot Program For Discretionary Suspensions and Debarments to Ensure Accountability
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new pilot program for discretionary suspensions and debarments to ensure accountability and protect the federal government from doing business with those who engage in inappropriate or illegal conduct.
Discretionary suspensions and debarments make individuals or organizations ineligible for federal contracting and transactions with the federal government typically for up to 12 months for a suspension and up to three years for a debarment.
The pilot program’s goal is to reduce the processing time on discretionary suspension and debarment actions from months to days through increased efficiency and sharing of information based on indictments or convictions. The pilot program involves the Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) including additional information in its referrals to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM) that will allow decisions to be made faster than ever before.
This pilot program builds on recent steps taken by the Department to enhance its discretionary suspension and debarment efforts in the last few years, including increased coordination and collaboration with the OIG. Under these efforts, discretionary suspensions increased from a total of two during the seven years of Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 through FY2016 to 29 during FY2017-FY2018. Discretionary debarments spiked from one during FY2010-FY2016 to 32 during FY2017-FY2018. In FY2018, the OIG referred a record number of 156 individuals and organizations to OASAM for review. In just the first quarter of FY2019, the Department has issued 32 discretionary suspensions and five discretionary debarments. The pilot program preserves the due process and fairness protections for the entities involved.
“Launching this pilot program will help to protect resources from fraud, waste, and abuse - faster than ever before,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Taxpayer resources will be better protected by streamlining the process and improving the use of information from indictments and convictions that result from the work of the Office of Inspector General. Given the Department of Labor’s commitment and duty to be a good steward of taxpayer resources, this pilot program is a clear reminder that the Department requires those conducting business with the federal government to be responsible and act with honesty and integrity.”
The pilot program will be in effect from April 2019 to April 2020.
The pilot program does not affect mandatory suspensions and debarments that are set by law and result in an automatic removal from being able to participate in transactions.