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Thoughts on the Coalition’s First Quarter of 2012

Tomorrow brings us to the Final Four and I still have a chance to win my office pool (I have Kentucky and Ohio State playing in the final Monday night). More importantly, from our perspective, it marks the end of the Coalition’s first business quarter and the beginning of the second. The first quarter has been very productive and we are extremely excited about the second quarter and the rest of the year. Here are some of the highlights thus far along with upcoming events in the second quarter.

On February 27, 2012, the Coalition submitted comments to GSA regarding the paperwork burden associated with the Price Reduction Clause (PRC). Thanks to our members and others who submitted responses to our survey questions regarding the costs associated with the PRC, we were able to provide compelling information to GSA regarding the overly burdensome and costly requirements of the PRC, especially in light of the new statutory and regulatory competition requirements for task and delivery orders under the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program. Our comments reflect the need for serious review and reform, if not elimination, of the PRC. Since the submission of our comments to GSA, the public comment period has been extended to April 16th. The Coalition will be supplementing our initial comments.

February was a very busy month. During the third week in February, the Coalition held another very successful MAS Basic Training Course. Thanks to participation by McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP; Washington Management Group, A Deltek Company, Xerox Corporation, HP Enterprise Services, and GSA, the MAS Basic Training course provided attendees with a grounding in the key fundamentals of the MAS program. On February 29th, the Coalition held a breakfast event featuring GSA’s David McClure and Mark Day discussing GSA’s cloud computing initiatives and FedRAMP.

In March, the Coalition welcomed L-3 STRATIS as the newest Keystone member. On March 21, the Coalition was honored to present Senators Lieberman and Collins with the Coalition’s Common Sense in Government Procurement Award. Finally, as we close out the quarter on March 29th, the Coalition submitted written testimony to the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, regarding contractor costs and insourcing versus outsourcing functions.

Looking ahead to the second quarter, the Coalition is very excited about our events. These events will bring the procurement community together to discuss key issues, challenges and trends in government contracting. First, on April 18th the Coalition will be hosting a forum focused on the nexus between MAS contract compliance and the Civil False Claim Act. This session will feature defense counsel and relator’s counsel presenting the life cycle of a mock civil False Claims Act case involving the MAS. In addition, we have invited counsel from the Department of Justice to participate and are awaiting confirmation. This event is a wonderful educational opportunity for in-house counsel, compliance officers, auditors, accountants, and contracting officers from industry and government. For more information, please visit our website.

On April 26th and 27th, the Coalition will be holding our Spring Conference. We are very fortunate to have an esteemed group of senior procurement leaders from DoD, DHS, GSA and the VA joining us for a continuing dialogue on the key procurement issues of our time. View the two day Spring Conference agenda. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Jim Ghiloni, the PMO for One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) (formerly Integrations) will be speaking at our conference the afternoon of April 26th.

The Coalition kicks off May with a webinar focused on Federal Supply Schedule Option Extensions: Contractor Challenges and Best Practices presented by Baker Tilly. May also brings the GSA Expo and the Coalition’s Partnership Dinner on May 16th at the Marriot Riverwalk. The Partnership Dinner provides a wonderful opportunity for a Myth-Busters dialogue regarding GSA’s key acquisition programs and initiatives. We are also working on having a veterans organization participate in the event. For more information, visit the Partnership Dinner page on our website. Also on May 16th, the Coalition will be holding a breakfast meeting for our Board of Advisors attending the Expo. Finally, June 14-15 will be our second MAS Basic Training Course offering of the year.

While these activities and events are on going, we continue to operate our Committees, meeting regularly to discuss and address key procurement issues. It is a testament to the commitment and engagement of you, the members, that our Committees are active and involved in key challenges facing our procurement system. At the same time, we all appreciate the willingness of our colleagues in Government, especially at GSA and VA, to engage in discussions regarding their acquisition programs. Transparency and positive dialogue between Government and industry remain the foundation upon which our system can operate more efficiently and effectively for all.

A final thought, watch for future announcements from the Coalition this quarter. The best is yet to come!

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