GSA Advantage, DPAP, and the confusing FAR 8.4 deviation
~ Roger Waldron, President, The Coalition for Government Procurement
On March 13, 2014, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) issued a class deviation to FAR 8.404(d). This deviation directed that ordering activity contracting officers are responsible for making a determination of fair and reasonable pricing when using GSA's Federal Supply Schedules (FSS). The deviation essentially incorporates complex FAR 15.404-1 price analysis techniques into the streamlined FSS ordering procedures with the vague caveat that the complexity and circumstances of each acquisition should determine the level of detail of the analysis required.
In discussing the rationale for this deviation, DPAP has consistently focused on the variation in pricing across the FSS program. In particular, the example of a $29 stapler listed on an FSS contract has been cited by DPAP as creating a "significant" risk that Department of Defense (DoD) contracting officers will simply order the $29 stapler rather than search for a cheaper stapler on another FSS contract. For those of us of a certain age, the use of this example reminds one of the $600 toilet seat reportedly purchased by the DoD back in the 1980s. Like the toilet seat purchase, however, there is greater context that undercuts the stapler example cited by DPAP.
Tangherlini leaving GSA next month
GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini is leaving the agency. His last day on the job will be Feb. 13, he said in an email to staff.
Deputy Administrator Denise Turner Roth will serve as acting administrator, said Tangherlini, who did not reveal where he is going next.
Tangherlini’s tenure was marked by efforts to pull GSA from the depths of scandal and shape it into a model of modernized, efficient tech-centric business.
He took the helm in 2012 as acting administrator after Martha Johnson resigned in the wake of a scandal over lavish spending at a GSA regional conference in Las Vegas. A GSA inspector general report on the Western Regions 2010 conference said costs for the event were more than $822,000, with tens of thousands of dollars spent on luxury suites, and other excesses.
"He came in at a time when the agency was under heavy attack," said Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement. "He did the job they hired him for, stabilizing an embattled agency. He successfully navigated the post-scandal environment."