MAS panel recommendation meets IG resistance

An entire year of discussions about ways to improve the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedules program could be derailed because of just one of 20 recommendations, an agency official warned today.

David Drabkin, a panel member and GSA’s acting chief acquisition officer, said officials from the department’s Office of Inspector General have raised concerns about the idea of eliminating the price-reduction clause from schedule contracts. That is the only point with which the IG appears to be concerned, he said.

The price-reduction clause is a mechanism that ensures the government is getting at least as good a deal as a contractor’s private-sector clients. Members of the Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel have concluded that the GSA does not have enough to personnel to enforce the clause and plans to recommend other ways to improve competition and ensure that pricing information is readily apparent.

However, officials at the IG office believe the cause should be retained, and have been meeting with congressional staff members and others in the oversight community to block any changes that may come from the panel’s recommendations, Drabkin said.

In effect, the IG would ignore all of the panel’s recommendations in order to avoid eliminating the price-reduction clause, he said.

Officials from GSA’s IG office, who attended the meeting, wouldn’t respond to Drabkin’s statements, and a representative from the office didn’t return a request for comment.

The panel members on Friday were debating the exact language of the report, but they said they planned to include opposing views. They expect to send their report soon to Jim Williams, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service commissioner. Williams has said he will review the report and then make his own recommendation to the GSA administrator.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Mon, May 4, 2009

Why would the IG want to squander significant resources verifying costs that would be taken care of naturally - and probably better - by competition? Not to mention that vendors also incur significant additional overhead trying to maintain compliance. Bottom line is that the IG's stance is reducing global competitive position and costing taxpayers more than they think they might be saving.

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