Industry to GSA: More specifics needed about reorganization

With about two months to finalize its reorganization strategy, officials at the General Services Administration today received a resounding message from industry: Tell us more.

Officials from two industry associations?the Professional Services Council, which also represented the Contract Services Association of America, and the Information Technology Association of America?told GSA leadership the draft strategy released earlier this month didn't address of the issues surrounding the reporting structure of the new Federal Acquisition Service and the guiding principles of the reorganization.

"We have not heard that mission articulated, and do not believe it has been validated with key stakeholders inside and outside government," said Alan Chvotkin, senior vice president for the Arlington, Va.-based PSC. "Missing from the guiding principles the administrator included in the draft plan was the element of compliance with the laws, rules and regulations that govern the agency, programs and contracts and the services the agency provides."

Ted Buford, vice chairman of ITAA's GSA subcommittee, told agency officials that their success is dependent on the buy-in from stakeholders and the "high-level plan does not provide enough information for us to comment."

GSA Administrator Stephen Perry said the agency recognizes the importance of accountability and compliance, and said the draft report didn't do a good enough job in making that clear. But as far as the amount of detail, Perry said that was a question officials wrestled with internally.

"There were certain things that are a part of our objective but weren't stated," he said. "We also will revisit the strategic direction of FAS. Maybe it will be the sum of the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services or maybe we need to put more meat on those bones."

ITAA's Buford recommended clarifying the regional structure, and keeping the multiple award contracts and schedules under one part of the organization and the contract support services under another instead of fragmenting them.

"Policy also should be in its own organization," Buford said. "That way they will be in a position to provide guidance to contract vehicles and implementing and enforcing policy among contract support staff."

Perry said Emily Murphy, the chief acquisition officer, would lead the policy formulation and implementation.

"Our focus is on the customer," said Barbara Shelton, acting FTS administrator. "We are looking outside in and making sure the acquisition workforce is set up to support our customers."

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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