Gatekeepers: How Procurement Personnel Guard Against Hybrid Accountability

July 26, 2015 by Daniel E. Bromberg

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Though much attention has been given to the relationship between contractor and vendor in regard to governmental accountability, little attention has been paid to the internal struggles that surface in regard to accountability in the procurement process. These informal horizontal relationships often circumvent vertical accountability controls most often thought to ensure equitable vendor selection. Similarly, though much attention has been paid to political influence in contracting, hierarchal organizational structures, and measures of performance, the contract officer-program manager relation has not been explored. Specifically, the informal tension that often forms between the program manager and contract officer has not been examined in regard to such accountability. This paper examines the relationship between the program officer and the contract officer in order to describe how hybrid public administration can affect the contracting process.