GSA clears final FAS hurdle

The General Services Administration has completed negotiations with the two labor unions that represent its employees, and can now fully launch the long-planned Federal Acquisition Service.

FAS replaces the Federal Supply Service and Federal Technology Service, combining their functions into a single organization, GSA officials said today. Companies that supply products and services to GSA's customers should find the agency much easier to deal with now, they said.

"What we are hoping for is to provide more standardization in our contracts," said Barney Brasseux, acting deputy FAS commissioner. "It should be a more efficient process for both us and our industry partners."

Gary Feit, assistant commissioner of the office of customer accounts and research assistant, added that the purpose of combining the two services is to make the agency's rules and practices consistent. No more will companies have one set of guidelines to abide by for FSS and another environment at FTS.

However, that degree of integration also meant merging two workforces with different cultures and different sets of priorities, said Ed O'Hare, assistant commissioner at the office of strategic business planning and process improvement at FAS.

O'Hare characterized the negotiations as "robust" but not adversarial, with the merging of the organizational cultures the primary issue.

Now that the step is complete, FTS and FSS are no more, Brasseux said. "We will refer to ourselves as the Federal Acquisition Service from this day forward," he said.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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