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01/17/2011

ACEC Ohio seeks to resolve fee negotiation issues at Columbus airport

Authority issues draft audit guidelines

ACEC Ohio is attempting to resolve concerns voiced by member companies regarding fee negotiation practices of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

Representatives of the Council, along with T. J. Schulz, of the Airport Consultants Council, based in Washington, DC., met with CRAA officials December 16.  They discussed issues such as the authority's refusal to accept audited consultant overhead rates and the disallowance of many overhead costs that are permissible under the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

While some progress was made in that meeting, the authority has said it will continue to conduct its own audit of any consultant that proposes an overhead rate exceeding 140 percent.  The average overhead rate of Ohio firms, according to the 2010 ACEC Ohio Financial Performance Survey, is 156 percent.

The authority's draft Audit Guide for Consulting Services Cost Rates also proposes to disallow all bonuses from overhead, despite the fact that the FAR clearly permits bonuses awarded according to an established bonus plan.  The authority also will disallow any indirect salary costs that fall below a 60 percent chargeability threshold.

ACEC Ohio members are encouraged to review the authority's draft audit guide and submit comments to Executive Director Don Mader.

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