Agencies getting tougher on contractors?

Tuesday - 7/19/2011, 4:43pm EDT

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Scripted by Jory Heckman

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President Obama's call for a tighter budget means agencies need to get tougher on the deals they make with contractors.

That sentiment has been echoed by a number of administration officials.

Jeff Zients, federal chief performance office and deputy director in the Office of Management and Budget, announced earlier this year that agencies had begun a downward trend in contract spending, which helped OMB deliver on this year's spending goals.

Zients has called on all agencies to cut their spending on management support service contracts by 15 percent, which will save the government more than $6 billion, he said.

Meanwhile, several agencies are cutting more than just management support service contracts and reshaping their entire procurement environments.

For example, Hilda Arellano, a counselor at the U.S. Agency for International Development said that keeping contractors responsible and on-task has helped translate into contract savings. The agency's senior-level suspension and debarment task team will also help catch contractor performance problems early on, she added.