Jeff Belkin was quoted in a Law360 article discussing the Defense Contract Audit Agency’s reaction to criticism that it prized speed over thoroughness by pushing for better-documented audits, which, according to the article, has contributed to a backlog of delayed contractor payments and has left federal agencies uncertain about how much they owe.
“While contracting officers are right to scrutinize contractors’ requests for more money, the audit delays can put contractors in a tough spot,” Belkin said. “Instead, they must continue to perform the contract, even at a loss, while waiting for a contracting officer’s final decision on the request for an adjustment.”
“That is really frustrating for contractors, particularly for small businesses. You could be waiting an extra year just to be able to get to court on your claim,” he said. “You’re not just financing the loss you’ve suffered; you’re financing the loss you continue to suffer as you continue performing the contract.”
Belkin also noted, “In disputes and litigation, the passage of time is a problem in and of itself, because witnesses and documents become more difficult and more expensive to track down…the evidence that you have in your favor—people’s memories—is getting stale. People change jobs; people on both sides move on.”