Board tells GSA to let eight GWACs expire

The General Services Administration is running too many governmentwide acquisition contracts and should let eight of them expire, a panel of GSA officials has recommended.

The agency's IT Contract Vehicle Review Board?made up of two representatives from the Federal Technology Service, two from the Federal Supply Service and one from the Office of Governmentwide Policy?unanimously made four suggestions to GSA administrator Stephen Perry:

  • Do not recompete the eight specialty GWAC vehicles because they overlap with other GWACs or schedule contracts. The specialty GWACs are: the Access Certificates for Electronic Services, Disaster Recovery, Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, Reverse Auctions, Safeguard, Seat Management, Smart Card and Virtual Data Centers

  • Continue the three largest GWACs?Millennia, Millennia Lite and Applications 'N Support for Widely Diverse End-User Requirements?but consider merging the ANSWER and Millennia contracts

  • Continue the Federal Acquisition Services for Technology and Historically Underutilized Business Zone GWACs

  • Have FSS and FTS officials review single contracts worth between $3 million and $20 million prior to solicitation and have contract review board members review single contracts worth more than $20 million.

  • The GWACs expire between today and June 2008.

    "The board has established the framework for creating an optimal blend of contract vehicles for meeting customer needs without undue burden on industry partners or GSA," the board said in its executive summary of the report.

    GSA created the board after a June 2002 report from Accenture LLP recommended four possible areas of consolidation between FSS and FTS.

    Larry Allen, executive director for the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington industry association, said the recommendations were not surprising.

    "GSA is getting rid of needless duplication and contract vehicles that weren't generating the business anyone had envisioned them to," Allen said. "The Millennia and ANSWER contracts can do a lot of the same things these other contracts can do, but are more flexible."

    Allen said the impact on agencies and industry will be minimal. GSA is giving agencies plenty of time to find alternative suppliers for the services they are buying through expiring contracts, and industry has said for a long time that there were too many GWACs, Allen said.

    Some contractors could be hurt by the contract phase-out, however, said attorney David Nadler, a partner with Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky LLP in Washington.

    "Unless come of the niche players can reposition themselves, they could be left out in the cold," said Nadler, co-chairman of the Industry Advisory Council's GWAC interest group.

    "You're going to see a fair amount of realignment," Nadler said. "You're going to have a lot of niche players looking to team or broaden their capabilities, and you're also going to see larger GWAC holders reaching out to come of the niche players currently working under the niche contracts."

    Washington Technology Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery contributed to this report.

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