Contract management becomes top priority for White House

Gordon intends to root out negligent behavior in government acquisition by having agencies better manage the contracts they award

Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, issued a stern warning last week to a contracting community that has been too tolerant of poor performance in the past.

“Contract management is front and center—front and center—in our focus,” Gordon said Dec. 10 during a panel discussion on procurement reforms. Gordon and the Obama administration intend to root out negligent behavior in government acquisition by having agencies better manage the contracts they award.


RELATED STORIES

Gordon encourages pioneering in government procurement


SBA suspends 2 firms, alleging they served as fronts


A company will no longer get a contract and then never again hear from the agency about the work, Gordon said. Further the government won’t turn a blind eye toward schemes or well-known shady business partnerships.

“We have got to stop situations where everybody knows that there are sham arrangements going on out there, but no one pays attention. We’re paying attention,” Gordon said.

He was referring to the Small Business Administration’s decision in October to suspend GTSI Corp. for alleged fraud, which, for many people, was one of the biggest news stories of 2010. GTSI was accused of using two small-business prime contractors as a front to funnel itself work and revenue from a contract set aside just for small businesses. GTSI was a subcontractor to the two small businesses on that contract. In November, SBA officials also suspended EG Solutions and MultimaxArray FirstSource, the two small businesses involved. GTSI has since been reinstated as a contractor and the two other companies are still suspended.

“We are taking this seriously, folks,” Gordon said.

Gordon’s push for better contract management after the award is a change from the last decade. Back in the 1990s, officials were analyzing the award process. They were considering how to judge evaluation criteria and past performance history, as well as get a good competition for a contract.

Now though, Gordon said, agencies have to keep tabs on their contracts once they’re awarded. By doing that, agencies should get what they pay for and be able to correct the course if work takes an unintended direction. Gordon said agencies need to pay close attention to the phases where they plan a procurement and define its requirements, but he went so far as to say the post-award management is more important than the planning and the defined requirements.

“The days when no one pays attention to what contractors do after we’ve made the award are over,” Gordon said.

This fundamental shift in focus has become critical because the government is contracting out more services than it is buying products nowadays, said Steve Schooner, a law professor at George Washington University and former associate administrator for procurement law and legislation at OFPP, who was on the panel with Gordon.

“I cannot tell you how important it is to hear the administrator for federal procurement policy talk about the importance of contract management," he said.

Schooner said Gordon’s leadership on better management and more contact between industry and government will be as beneficial to contractors as it is to agencies. Contractors often don’t feel like agency officials can talk with them and that they have no one to call if there’s an issue.

Buying services is much more complex than purchasing products, which further complicates the relationship between the contractor and the agency if two sides don't communicate, he said.

“You wouldn’t have renovations done in your home and not visit the site,” Schooner said.

In the end, management and communication between the two sides will make for a more successful relationship, he said.

Reader Comments

Tue, Dec 14, 2010


"GTSI was accused of using two small-business prime contractors as a front to funnel itself work and revenue from a contract set aside just for small businesses""" IT"S NOT JUST GTSI~.. Check out the rest of the Large corporations that are stealing contracts from Small Businesses, and fraudulently labeling themselves as a small business.. Bechtel, Lockheed, Boeing, Rolls Royce.. The list goes on and on. It's nice to see light shed on this matter, but I'll buy into their "It's out main focus" when action is taking against these giant thieves.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts

  • How Do You Support the Project Lifecycle?

    How do best-in-class project-based companies create and actively mature successful organizations? They find the right mix of people, processes and tools that enable them to effectively manage the project lifecycle. REGISTER for this webinar to hear how properly managing the cycle of capture, bid, accounting, execution, IPM and analysis will allow you to better manage your programs to stay on scope, schedule and budget. Learn More!

  • Sequestration, LPTA and the Top 100

    Join Washington Technology’s Editor-in-Chief Nick Wakeman as he analyzes the annual Top 100 list and reveals critical insights into how market trends have impacted its composition. You'll learn what movements of individual companies means and how the market overall is being impacted by the current budget environment, how the Top 100 rankings reflect the major trends in the market today and how the biggest companies in the market are adapting to today’s competitive environment. Learn More!