Changes for the GSA’s Management Policies

Federal News Radio has an interesting article and interview up regarding some changes at the GSA. The agency is revising some of its management policies for the multiple awards schedule in what seems to be hopes to address issues and instill more confidence in its customers and users. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

“We’ve taken a number of actions to reinforce proper procurement while also focusing on doing more for our customers to save them time and money in acquisition,” said Tom Sharpe, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, in an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio. “We’ve moved out on training. We’ve moved out on providing tools for the multiple award schedules, and we are in the process of standardizing part numbers, instilling horizontal pricing pressure. The schedules are priced vertically, the most favored customer price, so we are looking at comparison across suppliers to provide horizontal pricing pressure, and we’ve taken on initiatives to make the processes within the multiple award schedules faster.”

In June, the GSA IG found FAS managers improperly interfered with negotiations for new schedule contracts for Carahsoft, Deloitte and Oracle. GSA executives ended up suspending one senior official in light of what the IG found and have been taking steps over the last nine months to clarify and reinforce the role of managers in schedule contract negotiations.

“To me, the role of management is to support and reinforce those contracting officers,” said Sharpe, who has served as a contracting officer, a contracting officer supervisor and in several other acquisition operations positions during his career. “Contracting officers have difficult jobs and make subjective decisions, and the role of management

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is obviously to hire, to mentor, to supervise or to guide, to be a point of escalation to resolve issues, and quite frankly when it’s on the other side when there is an issue to support and correct a contracting officer. … I’m holding management responsible to fulfill that role, and I won’t tolerate improper intervention or improper execution of that role. In fact, every executive in FAS holds in their performance plan an outcome of proper procurement and proper procurement controls in fiscal 2014.”

Do you think these changes will make it easier to procure through the GSA? Read the whole article here.