The General Services Administration is reviewing acquisition practices for its multiple-award schedule programs — in response to a GSA inspector general’s report that found managers had improperly intervened in the decisions of contracting officers on GSA’s schedule 70 vehicle for IT purchases. Those interventions allegedly happened at the behest of GSA vendors, and the IG has called for changes, including full documentation of any contacts between contractors and managers at GSA’s federal acqusition service. Industry groups aren’t happy — they see the recommendations as an overreaction, one that would chill the role of GSA managers in important government procurements. Jim Williams, a former commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service and now senior vice president of Global Professional Services at Daon, joins In Depth with more.
The White House is hunting for private-sector ideas to make the federal government more efficient. Finding the best ideas is the first job for the Office of Management and Budget’s new director, Sylvia Burwell. But reinventing agencies with an “outside in” approach might overshadow some of the best innovators already working in the public sector, according to Tom Shoop, editor-in-chief at Government Executive. He joins In Depth with his take on the revamped management agenda.
Yesterday, President Obama laid out a new agenda for federal management, saying he wanted to build on what the White House sees as past successes in increased transparency, the use of technology and government efficiency. But the renewed push for management improvement comes at a time when several of the key positions on the “management” side of the Office of Management and Budget are vacant. Alan Balutis served 28 years in the federal government, including as a founding member of the CIO Council. He’s now a senior director at Cisco’s Business Solutions Group. He says he didn’t see any overwhelming changes in the President’s new plan.
Protesting a contract is one way to hold agencies accountable for unfair or unlawful treatment during a contract award. But sometimes — if an agency’s persistent — they can wait out a protracted protest process. And if they really don’t want to give a contract to a given company, they’ll find a way. That’s the lesson a Falls Church custodial services company learned after a fight that dragged out for three years. Lee Dougherty, a partner at Fluet, Huber and Hoang, joins In Depth to discuss the case.