SEWP reauthorization request is 'agonizing' decision for OFPP

Over the next several weeks, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy will resolve whether to grant a request from NASA to reauthorize its Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement as a governmentwide acquisition contract.

OFPP administrator Paul Denett said his office is analyzing NASA's request and will have a decision soon because SEWP's authorization runs out in January.

"I'm going to be agonizing and looking at it quite thoroughly," he said today at a conference in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Coalition for Government Procurement of Washington, an industry trade group. "Stay tuned."

The decision will be especially difficult because the General Services Administration has asked Denett to reject NASA's reauthorization request. GSA administrator Lurita Doan, in letters to OFPP and speeches, has stated that GSA should run the government's GWACs so agencies like NASA can focus on their core mission.

Denett would not give an indication on his decision, but he told reporters after his speech that he will be holding staff meetings on the issue this week.

Denett also said OFPP will be releasing a list of all the GWACs, multiple-award contracts and interagency contracts that are currently in place across the government.

OFPP's staff has collected information from the agencies about all the contracts it has, and Denett said he will use the list as a starting point to determine if existing procurement rules need to be revised.

Meanwhile, with Democrats taking over Congress as a result of last week's mid-term election, Denett said he will work tirelessly to ensure that federal procurement officials are not unfairly blamed for contracting problems if, as expected, lawmakers hold numerous hearings on the state of government.

To that end, Denett late last month issued a memorandum to agency chief acquisition officers asking them to emphasize ethics rules and regulations as they oversee their procurement workforce.

Denett noted as CAOs oversee a "mixed workplace" of both federal employees and contractor personnel, they must be aware of the existing laws "that apply to government employees and contractors."

CAOs must:

  • Emphasize the importance of complying with standards of conduct and other rules for working with contractors;
  • Distribute Office of Government Ethics guidances; and,
  • Cooperate with the National Procurement Fraud Task Force, a group created by the Justice Department that investigates potential procurement fraud.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's affiliate publication, Government Computer News.

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