Federal procurement officers tend to favor lowest price over technically acceptable contract vehicles because of the scrutiny placed on spending in tough budget times and that makes it difficult for those contracting officers to take risks, Federal Acquisition Service Regional Commissioner Tiffany Hixson said in an interview. "Right now there is a culture of being risk averse almost to point of taking no risk for fear of being criticized," Hixson said. "That's really driving some of the LPTA preference."
The General Services Administration and the Air Force established a working group to help identify ways to save money on enterprise-wide contracts, an Aug. 18 GSA blog post says. The working group will look into which GSA contracts the Air Force can use to cut costs, but still complete its mission, the blog post says.
The General Services Administration has awarded 95 percent of its contracts for the third iteration of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies, an Aug. 12 GSA statement says. GSA issued 21 FSSI OS3 contracts, with 20 of them going to small businesses and there's potential for more small business contracts pending further review, the emailed statement says.
The Postal Service should rescind its facilities contract delegation because the contracting officers aren't required to meet professional qualifications or establish competition requirements, an Aug. 5 USPS inspector general report says. USPS's Supply Management office is responsible for approving contracts to acquire goods and services, but they can delegate contracting authority to personnel outside of Supply Management, the report says.
Although their level of compliance has improved over the last year, most federal agencies still haven't met established governmentwide targets for providing complete, timely and accurate information on contractors' past performance, congressional investigators found.
The General Services Administration finalized contracts that it says will save the federal government billions on airfare in fiscal 2015. Under GSA's City Pair Program airfare rates for the federal government's official travel are pre-negotiated and fixed-price for a year offering a 23 percent discount below corporate benchmark fares, an Aug. 7 GSA statement says.
Hewlett-Packard agreed to pay $32.5 million to the Postal Service to resolve allegations that the company overcharged USPS for products over 9 years. The Justice Department says HP violated the False Claims Act--the federal law holds accountable contractors who defraud governmental programs--by overcharging USPS between October 2001 and December 2010.
Contractors will have to report any labor law violations to federal agencies under an executive order sign by President Obama July 31. Contractors will need to disclose any labor law violations from the past three years before a contract can be awarded them. Violations include family and medical leave, collective bargaining and wages.
For the first time since 2005 agencies met the governmentwide goal for percentage of contracts awarded to small businesses. The Small Business Administration said Aug. 1 that agencies provided small businesses with $83 billion in contracts in fiscal 2013 out of $355 billion total. That's 23.4 percent of all prime contracting dollars that exceed the 23 percent goal, the SBA statistics show.
A government contracting group made recommendations to speed the procurement process and better train the acquisition workforce in a July 28 report. "While these recommendations will not fix the entire acquisition system on their own, if adopted, they will serve as an important step in righting the ship," said Professional Services Council President and CEO Stan Soloway.