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Brief Thoughts on Various Issues and Items of the Day

Myth-Busters: This week I traveled to Fort Worth and provided a policy update to the Greater Southwest Region’s 2012 Alliance for Quality Business Solutions Training Conference and Partnership Meeting. Next week I am off to St. Louis for the Heartland Region’s Facilities Maintenance and Hardware Center Industry Event entitled “The Innovation Locomotion.” GSA is to be applauded for working with industry in putting on these “Myth-Busters” events. To its credit, GSA, through these events, gives its contractors with wonderful training and communication opportunity. It is vital that contractors take advantage: Attend and actively participate! Through meeting like these two regional events, both government and contractor personnel have an invaluable opportunity to meet and share information regarding the key challenges, issues and successes surrounding the $40 billion GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.

As a result of these meetings, GSA gains a better understanding of how its policies, procedures and operations are impacting customer agencies and contractors. It is an opportunity to share information about what is working as well as areas where things can be improved. Contractors attending the meetings can gain a better understanding of GSA’s key initiatives as well as current trends in customer agency engagement with GSA. Better understanding and engagement between GSA and contractor ultimately leads to better outcomes for GSA, customer agencies, contractors and the taxpayer! Finally, I would thank Shaloy Castle-Higgins from the Southwest Region and Debbie Harms from the Heartland Region for including the Coalition in these events.

Price Reduction Clause: Thank you to all those who have provided information regarding the operational and administrative contract costs associated with the Price Reduction Clause (PRC)! We will be incorporating this information into our submission responding to the December 29th Federal Register notice requesting comments on the paperwork burden associated with the PRC. The Coalition again urges the public to also submit comments directly to GSA regarding the burdens associated with the clause. The due date for comments is Monday, February 27th. A copy of the Federal Register notice can be found here.

End-User License Agreements: The Coalition continues to support a solution based on a general conflicts of law provision that would be included in the MAS contracts. This approach would acknowledge what has always been true, that in the case of a conflict between a commercial license term and a federal law, the federal law controls. A conflicts of law clause or order of precedence clause in the MAS IT contracts would ensure the Government’s legal interests are protected while providing contractors with an opportunity to efficiently and effectively add new software products to their MAS IT contracts.

It would also reduce workload for both GSA and contractors. Inserting a conflicts clause to the IT schedule, contractors could acknowledge and accept the new clause terms thereby eliminating the need for legal reviews of each and every individual license agreement. Currently there are literally hundreds of licenses that are being reviewed or yet to be reviewed by GSA before various software products could be added to MAS contracts. As a result, IT schedule contracts are limited in providing the latest technology and competition for software solutions. In contrast, a conflicts of law clause would help ensure that the MAS IT schedule continues to efficiently and effectively support greater customer agency value through competition for the latest technology consistent with federal laws. This is a great “Myth-Busters” opportunity for GSA and its contractors to work together to solve this issue!

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