Contracting officers' decisions were overruled by managers at the General Services Administration in order to grant three major IT contracts worth a total of $900 million, according to an audit by the agency's inspector general. The intervention resulted in inappropriately high prices and harmed morale among the acquisition staff, according to the audit report, which didn't specify the additional cost to the government. "Contracting officers need an environment in which they are free to make judgments, conclusions and findings without undue influence," said GSA Inspector General Brian Miller. "Independence of contracting officers is crucial to the integrity of the procurement process."

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