Before tackling the comment of the week there are some updates I’d like to share with you. First, it is an exciting time with the launch of my new Federal Times Blog! The first blog posting appeared last week and can be found here. I encourage all Friday Flash readers to follow this new blog focusing on GWACS and GSA. The next blog will be posted the second week of February and will focus on the “GSA supplier” relationship.
MAS Contract Compliance and the 5th Anniversary of the Mandatory Disclosure Rule, Feb 5th
With GSA Inspector General, Brian Miller
Second, next week is Compliance Week at the Coalition! On Wednesday, February 5th, Brian Miller, GSA Inspector General (IG), Aleksandra Doran, Assistant General Counsel to the IG, and Jonathan Aronie, Partner at Sheppard Mullin will participate in a Myth-Busters dialogue focusing on MAS Contract Compliance and the Mandatory Disclosure Rule! Space is filling up fast and this is a great educational opportunity! Attendees will hear the ins and outs of the Mandatory Disclosure Rule and contract compliance from those on the front lines of compliance management. The Forum is a “must attend” event for contractor in-house counsel, compliance managers, contract managers, and executives. There is still time and you can register here.
Fundamentals of Ethics and Compliance Webinar, Feb 6th
Steptoe & Johnson
The following day, the Coalition will be hosting a webinar, ”Fundamentals of Ethics and Compliance” by Steptoe & Johnson. Tom Barletta, Partner at Steptoe & Johnson will focus on the latest developments in the unique world of government contract ethics rules. These two sessions provide a powerful package of insight, information, and best practices around the business imperative of contract compliance!
The Cost-Build Approach for GSA Schedule Labor Pricing, Feb 11th
On February 11th, Baker Tilly will present a Coalition Webinar on “The Cost-Build Approach for GSA Schedule Labor Pricing.” Another great opportunity to learn about key trends, issues and strategies associated with the negotiation of labor rates using the cost-build approach.
ITS Priorities for 2014, Feb 20th
With Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioner for GSA’s Integrated Technology Service (ITS) and Mark Day, ITS Deputy Assistant Commissioner
Finally, the Coalition is pleased to announce that Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioner for GSA’s Integrated Technology Service (ITS) and Mark Day, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for ITS will be providing an update on ITS Priorities for 2014 at our February 20th Myth-Busters Forum. The forum will be from 7:30 am to 10:00 am at the Tower Club. You can register here.
Today marks the target release date for the new FSSI IDIQ for office supplies (OS3). As you know, last week’s “FAR and Beyond” blog focused on OS3. GSA’s decision to create a duplicate IDIQ contract program that overlaps the GSA schedules is troubling. The apparent rationale for creating the new IDIQ is that customer agencies have indicated that some MAS terms and conditions could hinder pricing. If that is the case, we must ask the obvious question. Why not fix the MAS program, which accounts for 75 percent ($40 billion) of the Federal Acquisition Service’s total annual dollar volume?
The MAS program is the backbone of GSA, Federal Acquisition Service. It is the leading commercial item contracting program across the federal enterprise. It provides a streamlined marketplace for commercial firms and customer agencies to efficiently and effectively compete for and acquire commercial services, products and solutions. But the full potential of MAS has not been achieved. The MAS program can be a driver for— innovation in services, solutions, and technologies. It can bring new, creative commercial practices, pricing and contract structures to customer agencies. By better mirroring the commercial marketplace, the MAS program will better serve the American people.
It is time to for reform of the MAS program that achieves greater, openness, flexibility, and streamlining. It is time to innovate the MAS program!
Rather than focusing on innovation, GSA focuses on “supplier suppression.” For example, without any fanfare or advance notice, GSA closed one of the largest, most important SINS on Schedule 51V to new offers.
The closure of the schedule is an anti-competitive, anti-market approach. To the extent the goal is simply to reduce the number of contractors, the long term implications for customer agencies and the American people are not good. Limiting the supply chain could reduce quality and increase prices over the long term. Closing schedules is making a symbolic statement that innovative best in class small, medium and large businesses need not apply!