New GSA rule updates acquisition policy

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  • The General Services Administration (GSA) finalized a major change to its Federal Supply Schedules nearly 18 months after it issued a proposed rule allowing the purchase of incidental materials. Under the schedules, the new rule allows vendors to include other direct costs (ODCs) or order level materials (OLMs) on individual task orders. ODCs or OLMs are costs that aren’t specifically identified in the contract, such as a specialized tool or test equipment). GSA said the change will help create parity with commercial sector best practices.   (Federal Register)
  • GSA has begun re-filling some key roles in its Technology Transformation Service (TTS).  Dominic Sale will head to TTS as assistant commissioner of operations. Sale will transfer to TTS after spending the last four years in GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy where he was deputy associate administrator. He replaced Crystal Philcox who moved out of that position and in to a new role in the Federal Acquisition Service in December. Prior to GSA, Sale worked at the Office of Management and Budget for six years. Sale is expected to begin his new role at TTS on Feb. 5.
  • The group of senior leaders that the Defense Department (DoD) has appointed to speed up DoD’s adoption of cloud computing will get some help with what’s expected to be a major acquisition project. DoD awarded Alaska-based Eagle Harbor Solutions a $7 million contract to supply engineering, budgetary and acquisition expertise to the Cloud Executive Steering Group. The panel is expected to issue a solicitation later this year for a new commercial cloud contract that could last up to ten years.  (PR News)
  • The Air Force created a new team to address what it calls “Unexplained Physiologic Events.” (UPEs) A physiological event occurs when aircrew experience symptoms that can result from a variety of factors, including hypoxia or disorientation, caused by a lack of oxygen.  These symptoms hinder their ability to fly safely and effectively. Lt. Gen. Chris Nowland, Air Force deputy chief of staff for operations, established the team to provide an operational focus for addressing UPEs and ensure prompt implementation of recommendations. (Air Force)
  • The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board  said it saw  a 12 percent increase in the post-separation withdrawals in 2017.  The board credited the increase to more Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants reaching retirement age, thus increasing the pool of potential withdrawals. (Federal News Radio advisory)
  • President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency said he is leaving the agency. Michael Dourson served as a senior adviser to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt before being picked by the president to head the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. He withdrew his nomination last month over reports that, in his old role as a toxicologist, he was paid to criticize scientific studies raising safety concerns about his clients’ products. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Merit Systems Protection Board said a lack of quorum was the biggest challenge it faced in fiscal 2017.  But it said agency workforce reductions under the president’s government reorganization efforts may also challenge MSPB and increase its workload.  MSPB Chairman and lone board member Mark Robbins said appeals related to buyouts or RIFs would only add to the agency’s mounting workload. MSPB processed a little more than 6,000 cases in 2017.
  • Two federal scientists are in this year’s class of inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. NASA engineer Jacqueline Quinn developed a safe method for cleaning up waste from early space efforts. Mary Engle Pennington was inducted posthumously for her work in food preservation. She was the first female lab chief at the Food and Drug Administration. The Hall of Fame partners with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (PMNewswire)