FAR and Beyond Blog
For this week’s comment I wanted to share with you a blog post first published on the Federal Times’ Acquisition Blog (www.federaltimes.com). The post highlights GSA’s recent Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Office Supply 3 (OS3) and contract duplication.
GSA increases contract duplication one solicitation at a time
A little over two weeks ago GSA awarded the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Office Supply 3 (OS3) Indefinite-Quantity-Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ) contracts—the third generation FSSI for office supplies. These new OS3 IDIQ contracts duplicate the current GSA Schedule 75 for office supplies—so much so that the OS3 solicitation used GSA Schedule 75 pricing as a benchmark. Moreover, for those GSA Schedule 75 contractors who now have OS3 contracts—the OS3 contract terms require pricing consistency across both vehicles, essentially incorporating by reference the operative GSA Schedule 75 contract terms!
As a result of this effort, GSA and the firms competing OS3 together spent millions of bid and proposal dollars for a duplicative contract vehicle. Time and money could have been saved through the competitive establishment of BPAs under the GSA Schedule 75. More importantly, task order competitions using the GSA Schedule 75 would have leveraged individual agency requirements in a cost effective and efficient manner.
Now comes the latest effort in contract duplication, GSA’s new solicitation seeking a set of commercial office furniture IDIQ contracts for the Total Workplace Furniture and Information Technology (FIT) program. The FIT program is GSA’s new offering to customer agencies to minimize initial capital investments for furniture and IT. Through FIT, GSA will offer customer agencies an installment program to spread the cost of the furniture purchase over a five-year period. The FIT solicitation includes five functional areas covering commercial workplace furniture, tables, high density and rotary filing, seating and demountable walls. Functional Area 1 provides for multiple awards. Functional Areas 2-5 are single-award.
The parallels between the FIT solicitation and GSA Schedule 71 for commercial office furniture are striking. They cover the same types of commercial office furniture. They both establish IDIQ contracts with a $2,500 guaranteed minimum (the FIT solicitation provides a $2,500 minimum for each functional area).
They both use FAR Part 12 commercial item provisions and clauses. As IDIQ contracts, they are both designed to meet agency specific commercial office furniture requirements at the task order level—specific agency requirements that are unknown at the time of award.
If these parallels were not enough, the FIT solicitation goes a step further and makes GSA Schedule 71 pricing a benchmark stating in part that “Pricing Forms must be equal to or less than the price for the same offering on the Offeror’s current Schedule after discounting for any GSA or other Government fee such as the 0.75% GSA fee.”
GSA cannot have it both ways. GSA complains about agencies creating their own contract vehicles that duplicate GSA’s governmentwide contract vehicles, when it is doing the very same thing. It is disheartening. Rather than expending significant time, talent and taxpayer dollars on creating duplicative contract vehicles; GSA can and should improve the efficiency and effectiveness for the acquisition of commercial products and services under the GSA schedules program. It is time to make a good commercial products and services schedules program great.
Finally, and most troubling, is GSA’s decision that Functional Areas 2-5 should be single-award. Under the FIT solicitation, the subsequent agency specific requirements for Functional Areas 2-5 are unknown and unarticulated over the potential five-year life of the single award contracts. As such, the contracts for each Functional Area will result in de-facto sole source procurements for each subsequent task order issued over the life of the contracts. This makes no business or procurement sense for customer agencies or the American people. Competition for agency specific requirements is vital to achieving best value for customer agencies. There is an alternative. GSA Schedule 71 contractors stand ready each and every day to compete, like they do in the commercial market, for the very agency specific requirements that GSA will be “sole sourcing” under the FIT solicitation.
The Federal Acquisition Service’s Management Services Center is making some major changes to its professional services Schedule offerings. GSA plans to decrease the number of professional services Schedules, ideally down to one Professional Services Schedule. Auburn currently offers 8. According to GSA, the number of professional services contracts is being reduced in order to:
- Improve contract usability; agencies can obtain and contractors can provide total service solutions through one contract vehicle.
- Increase program efficiency by managing fewer contracts and solicitations.
- Reduce administrative costs to industry by reducing the number of contracts they manage.
- Eliminate the need to submit separate offers for professional services; firms would have the ability to submit a modification request instead – this equates to a substantial decrease in time required to add new services.
The Schedules that will (or may be) affected are:
- Consolidated (00CORP)
- MOBIS (874)
- PES (871)
- FABS (520)
- AIMS (541)
- LOGWORLD (874V)
- Environmental (899)
- Language (738II)
GSA’s announcement on Interact explains how these Schedules will be affected, the impact on existing contracts that are migrating to the Professional Services Schedule and the impact on the Consolidated Schedules program.
The milestones for GSA moving forward are:
|Nonprofessional service SINS reviewed, SINS with no sales will be cancelled||09/30/14|
|AIMS Schedule administration transferred from Region 7 to Region 10||10/01/14|
|Nonprofessional service SINS with sales migrated to the appropriate Schedule||12/31/14|
|Begin migration to Professional Services Schedule||01/01/15|
|Existing Schedules closed for new offers||02/28/15|
|New offers accepted under the Professional Services Schedule||03/01/15|
|Transitions to the Professional Services Schedule substantially complete||11/01/15|
For more details, read GSA’s blog post on Interact.
Meet PBS Commissioner Norman Dong, Sept 17
The Coalition is pleased to announce that PBS Commissioner Norman Dong will speak to the Federal Buildings Committee on Wednesday, September 17 at 11am. The myth-buster’s dialogue with Commissioner Dong is open to all Coalition members. The meeting will be at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP (1900 K St NW, Washington, DC). In order to attend, please RSVP to Roy Dicharry at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Seating will be limited.
FEDSIM at IT/Services, Sept 9
Next week on September 9, the Coalition is hosting GSA’s FEDSIM team at the IT/Services Committee. Kristen Knapper, Director, Civilian Sector, Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM); Jim Piche, Group Manager, FEDSIM DHS Group and Cristen Cole, CDM Tools/CMaaS BPA Contracting Officer’s Representative will be in attendance. The topic of discussion will be the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program. The dialogue will begin at 10am at Northrop Grumman in McLean, VA. If you are a Coalition member and would like to attend, please contact Roy Dicharry at email@example.com.
The Coalition’s HR Services and Training (HRST) Working Group will meet with representatives from GSA and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the Training and Management Assistance (TMA) follow-on contract on Thursday, October 2 at 10am. The TMA program, currently managed through OPM, offers customized training and human capital solutions through a five-year multiple award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract vehicle. Special guests from GSA and OPM will discuss the acquisition strategy for the TMA follow-on contract thus far and next steps. Joining the discussion will be—
- George Price, Deputy Associate Director, Training and Management Assistance Program, OPM
- Jim Ghiloni, Acting Director of the Office of Acquisition Operations, GSA
- Bjorn Miller, Contracting Officer, GSA (invited)
The meeting will be at Mayer Brown (1999 K St NW, Washington, DC 20006). To RSVP, please contact Roy Dicharry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, the Coalition reported on the recent memorandum and guidance from the Department of Defense (DoD) on enhancing competition for contract awards. This week’s article provides a deeper dive into the document, “Guidelines for Creating and Maintaining a Competitive Environment for Supplies and Services in the Department of Defense.” In the guidance Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L) Frank Kendall outlines general approaches to improve competition and some strategies the DoD should use to increase competition in the acquisition of services and commodities. Here are the highlights:
- General Approaches to Increase Competition
- Conduct thorough market research to understand the landscape for competition
- Keep industry informed through RFIs, Sources Sought Synopses, Draft RFPs, Pre-solicitation conferences, site visits and one-on-one meetings
- Articulate requirements in performance-based terms
- Clearly articulate the basis for RFP award decisions, so industry participants know what it takes to win. This can be done through close collaboration between user and acquisition community stakeholders to refine (by combining similar attributes) and simplify requirements into the minimum set of required by the warfighter.
- Competition for Services
- Engage all stakeholders (requiring and acquisition teams) in advance of formulating the acquisition strategy.
- Dedicate a trained/certified program manager to lead the effort to define the requirement.
- Structure Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to remove obstacles to competitive bidding. Kendall notes that the ordering period (contract period of performance) should generally be limited to a reasonable number of years (e.g., 5) to enable refreshed access to the competitive marketplace (or otherwise provide “on-ramps” provisions in the solicitation to reserve the right to bring on additional IDIQ awardees to compete for orders).
- Structure ordering evaluation criteria so as not to be unduly restrictive to any one potential awardee.
- Competition for Commodities
- Reverse Auctioning
- Kendall notes that reverse auctions have been used with success by DLA and other DoD components.
- Leverage existing contract vehicles
- Kendall cites a few examples of DoD saving time and money by leveraging existing contracts. The Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Furniture Program awards in excess of 95% of the support contracts competitively, primarily using GSA Multiple Award Schedules. Additionally, he notes the Army Contracting Command (ACC) and Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM)’s Expedited Professional and Engineering Support Services (EXPRESS) Program, a group of multiple award Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) established within the “evergreen” aspects of the GSA Schedules.
Waldron Addresses OS3 on In Depth
The General Services Administration is muscling contractors out of the federal marketplace according to Coalition President, Roger Waldron. On In Depth with Francis Rose, Roger said GSA will use a string of new contracts for office supplies as a form of supplier suppression. For more details, listen to the interview with Francis Rose.
Liz DelNegro, GSA Associate CIO of Acquisition IT systems, announced two new IT systems to assist customer agencies with the acquisition process. The two systems are the Enterprise Acquisition Solution integrated (EASi) and the Assisted Services Information SysTem (ASSIST) program. According to DelNegro’s blog post this week, EASi will interface with the System for Award Management (SAM) and will leverage the larger GSA IT application environment including the Regulation Management Service—a new feature of the Solicitation Writing System and the Enterprise Content Management System. ASSIST is still in development and is designed to provide standardized task and delivery-order management for GSA customers, contracting professionals and contractors. ASSIST is expected to integrate contracting with funds management and provide data for decision-making. For more details, read the GSA blog post.
OASIS Open for Business
This week, GSA announced that both OASIS contracts are open for business. Agencies can now begin purchasing professional services from 74 companies on the multibillion dollar contract. The governmentwide acquisition contract offers professional services, such as financial management and engineering, scientific and logistics services. Also of note, the Air Force signed an agreement with GSA in December to use the contract for professional services.
Another Representation (and Likely More False Claims Act Liability) in the Future for Contractors
By: John Horan, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
Contractors will have to provide another written representation to do business with the government. On July 31, 2014, President Obama issued an Executive Order called Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces intended to ensure that contractors comply with the following labor laws:
- Fair Labor Standards Act;
- Occupational Safety and Health Act;
- Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act;
- National Labor Relations Act;
- Davis-Bacon Act;
- Service Contract Act;
- Equal Employment Opportunity requirements (Executive Order 11246);
- Rehabilitation Act (Section 503);
- Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act;
- Family and Medical Leave Act;
- Civil Rights Act (Title VII);
- Americans with Disabilities Act;
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act;
- Federal Contractor Minimum Wage Requirements (Executive Order 13658); and
- any equivalent State laws.
The less than stellar showing of government contractors in a Government Accountability Office study on whether contractors comply with labor laws likely provided at least some motivation for the President. See FEDERAL CONTRACTING: Assessments and Citations of Federal Labor Law Violations by Selected Federal Contractors, GAO-10-1033 (Sep 17, 2010). After reviewing Federal labor law actions from 2005 through 2009, GAO found that the Department of Labor made 25 of the 50 largest wage assessments against 20 contractors and OSHAassessed eight of the 50 largest workplace health and safety penalties against seven other contractors. In addition, the government awarded fifteen contractors cited for violations of wage and hour determinations, OSHA laws, and National Labor Relations Board requirements over $6 billion in government contracts in 2009.
The President justified his Order by finding that complying with labor laws will “increase efficiency and cost savings in the work performed by government contractors” because compliant contractors are more likely to have “workplace practices that enhance productivity and increase the likelihood of timely, predictable, and satisfactory delivery of goods and services to the Federal Government.” He determined that his Order would also help agencies “avoid distractions and complications that arise from contracting with contractors with track records of noncompliance.”
New Requirements for Contractors, Subcontractors, and Agencies
The Executive Order imposes the following additional requirements for contracts exceeding $500,000, currently without an exception for commercial items (GA and VA FSS) contracts:
Pre-award Representation with Updates
A contractor will have to provide a representation prior to award of any contract exceeding $500,000 that, to the “best of the offeror’s knowledge and belief,” it has not had an administrative merits determination, arbitral award or decision, or civil judgment, within the preceding three-year period, for violations of labor laws listed above. Where there has been a violation, the CO will provide the contractor with an opportunity to disclose any steps taken to correct the violations or improve compliance with the labor laws. The CO must consider the violation and mitigation information provided by the contractor in making the responsibility determination required for award of the contract. In addition, the contractor must also represent that it will require the same representation for subcontracts exceeding $500,000 (except subcontract for COTS items) and consider disclosure and any mitigating information prior to making any subcontracting decision.
A contractor must update its representations and information every six months for the duration of the contract. Upon receiving an update of a violation, the CO must consider whether to require remedial measures and provide compliance assistance, and whether to exercise an option, terminate the contract, and refer the contractor to the agency suspension and debarment official. In turn, the contractor must consider taking action against a subcontractor that has had a violation whether disclosed by subcontractor or “obtained through other sources.” Likely to ensure that contractors and subcontractors are providing accurate representations and to provide another source of information to COs, the Department of Labor must inform contracting agencies of its investigations of contractors and subcontractors.
Referral to Suspension and Debarment Officer
In addition to taking action under the contract, the CO must forward any adverse information of compliance with labor laws by contractors and subcontractors to the agency suspension and debarment officer.
The Order also imposes two requirements on contractors that have a potential for significantly affecting a contractor’s exposure to litigation based on labor laws, which the Order describes as “transparency” requirements. First, contractors must provide employees covered by any of the wage rate labor laws with a weekly statement of hours worked, overtime hours, pay, and any additions made to or deductions made from pay. These disclosures ensure that covered employees have the information required to assess the contractor’s compliance with the wage rate requirements.
Second, for contracts exceeding $1 million, contractors are precluded from obtaining an agreement from employees or independent contractors to arbitrate claims arising under Title VII or any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment until after the claim arises. Thus, contractors that view arbitration as a protection from costly litigation or verdicts will have a much more difficult time obtaining arbitration agreements from employees.
Flow Down Requirement
The Order also imposes representation requirements on subcontractors. Prime contractors must include the pre-award representation requirement in subcontracts exceeding $500,000 (except subcontracts for COTS items).
Labor Compliance Advisor
The Order requires each agency to designate a senior agency official as a Labor Compliance Advisor. The Labor Compliance Advisor has the responsibility to support the agency, COs, and contractors in complying with the Order, coordinating with the Department of Labor, assist in the development of regulations, send information to the agency suspension and debarment officer, and publicly report annually a summary of “agency actions taken to promote greater labor compliance.”
Regulations to Follow
The Order requires the FAR Council to propose “regulations, rules, and orders” required to carry out the requirements of the Order. In addition, the FAR Council must “propose to amend the [FAR] to identify considerations for determining whether serious, repeated, willful, or pervasive violations of the labor laws . . . demonstrates a lack of integrity or business ethics.” In short, the Order is placing primary responsibility on the FAR Council to ensure a uniform consideration of the effect of labor law violations on responsibility determinations government-wide.
What Does this Mean?
Although the Order does not create new labor law compliance obligations, it imposes obvious additional administrative obligations for contractors and subcontractors. In addition, these requirements will likely create new, fertile grounds for False Claims Act cases. 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733. The required representations and potential for submission mitigation information (and continual updates) create new opportunities for contractors to make errors that will be subject to attack as false information submitted to the government knowingly, recklessly, or with deliberate ignorance of its accuracy under the False Claims Act. Moreover, the explicit requirement that COs consider this information in award and administration decisions, such as responsibility determinations, option exercises, and terminations, will provide qui tam relators and the government with a basis to argue that this “false information” was material to the government’s decision to award the contract, permit the contractor to continue performance, and to pay the contractor for its performance.
When Does an Agency Cross the Line from Clarifications to Discussions?
By Michelle E. Litteken, Associate, Mayer Brown LLP and Luke Levasseur, Counsel, Mayer Brown LLP
Originally Posted in Claims and Disputes (Mayer Brown Meaningful Discussions Blog) on August 19, 2014
Editor’s note: This is the first post in a series of posts focused on protest allegations related to discussions with offerors. Planned future posts will cover what qualifies as meaningful discussions, what constitutes unequal discussions, and a round up of recent protests involving discussions.
In a bid protest, the disappointed offeror often alleges that the agency failed to conduct meaningful discussions or engaged in unequal discussions. A threshold inquiry is whether the agency engaged in discussions. The CFC and GAO approach the question of whether agency communications constitute discussions differently, and a protester may want to consider that difference when selecting a protest forum.
FAR 15.306 defines clarifications as “limited exchanges, between the Government and offerors, that may occur when award without discussions is contemplated.” The FAR does not expressly define “discussions,” but it explains that “discussions” include negotiations that “are undertaken with the intent of allowing the offeror to revise its proposal.” The FAR used to limit clarifications to communications about relatively small matters, such as eliminating clerical mistakes or minor irregularities. However, the rules were revised in 1997 to allow a free exchange of information without requiring discussions. Decisions from the GAO and CFC reveal that the two protest forums apply the FAR provisions differently, with the CFC appearing to embrace a more substantial exchange of information that can still be characterized as clarifications.
Both GAO and the CFC recognize that, if an offeror is given an opportunity to revise its proposal, the agency has engaged in discussions. Several GAO and CFC cases refer to this as the “acid test.” The tough cases come when either (i) questions (often called “clarifications” by the agency) seek information that is necessary to determine technical acceptability of the proposal, or (2) the agency seeks a substantial amount of “clarify[ing]” information and an offeror’s response approaches (or crosses) the line of changing the proposal.
GAO has ruled that, when an agency uses information received from an offeror after submission of a proposal to determine the technical acceptability of a proposal, “discussions” occurred. For example, in Evergreen Helicopters of Alaska, Inc., GAO analyzed the “acquisition of fixed-wing aircraft services in the central region of Africa,” and considered an EN requesting information about the aircraft type and tail numbers. Such a request could be seen as soliciting information inadvertently omitted from the proposal, but GAO ruled that the communications constituted discussions because the information was necessary to determine technical acceptability. In contrast, in Tetra Tech, Inc., GAO held that the agency’s email to the awardee asking the awardee to confirm that it was accepting the end-state performance objective (as opposed to the technical approach) qualified as a clarification because the awardee was confirming information already in the proposal, not providing information that constituted a modification or revision of its proposal in response to the email.
Importantly, GAO doesn’t necessarily accept the agency’s characterization of the communications—but, instead, analyzes the parties’ actions. This lack of deference is illustrated in Evergreen Helicopters, in which GAO rejected the agency’s characterization and argument that the evaluation notices were clarifications because the offerors were not allowed to revise their proposals. Similarly, in Kardex Remstar, LLC, the agency sent an offeror a spreadsheet with spaces for the offeror to explain how its proposal satisfied the agency’s requirements. The agency characterized the communications as “clarifications” and expressly prohibited the offeror from changing its proposal. GAO rejected the agency’s characterization because the information was used to determine technical acceptability–even though the offeror could not revise its proposal.
In contrast, CFC decisions generally find that discussions occur only when an offeror is given the opportunity to revise its proposal, and the court is less likely to characterize the provision of information related to a technical acceptability determination as “discussions.” For example, in Mil-Mar Century Corp. v. U.S., the protester argued that an email asking the awardee to substantiate its proposed price, clarify its costs for an item, address a discrepancy in its labor hours, and clarify the adequacy of its proposed labor hours qualified as discussions. Although the agency included a disclaimer on the emails that the communications did not constitute discussions, the protester argued that the exchanges were discussions because the information the awardee provided was required by the RFP and essential to determine acceptability. The court deferred to the agency’s characterization and found the information was not a material requirement. The court also noted that “an exchange can constitute a clarification, and not a discussion, even whe[n] the information provided was ‘essential to evaluation criteria.’”Evergreen Helicopters and Kardex suggest that GAO would have agreed with the protester because the agency used the information to determine technical acceptability.
With respect to the amount of deference the CFC should give to an agency’s characterization of the communications, the Federal Circuit has held that the court should defer to the agency’s interpretation of the FAR’s definition if the agency’s interpretation is permissible. In Davis Boat Works, Inc., the CFC applied that reasoning to hold that a 7-page letter with a 25-page “process guide” the awardee submitted during the first round of evaluation constituted clarifications because neither the letter nor the guide substantially revised the offeror’s proposal. Instead, the court found that the Process Guide explained how the offeror would satisfy the RFP’s management approach requirements. The court was not concerned with the amount of information that the offeror provided, observing “any clarification must necessarily convey new information to the agency.” The court further stated: “in close cases, it is well-established that the government’s classification of a particular communication as a clarification or a discussion ‘is entitled to deference from the court,’ as long as that classification is permissible and reasonable.” In contrast, GAO has stated: “the agency’s characterization of the exchange is not controlling, as it is the actions of the parties that determine whether discussions have been held.”
Although there are many issues to consider when deciding where to file a bid protest, contractors might not sufficiently consider the different approaches that GAO and CFC take to determining whether discussions occurred. If a contractor anticipates that a discussions-related issue may become important in a protest being considered, subtle differences between the way the CFC and GAO evaluate these issues should be analyzed carefully.
35th Anniversary Sponsorships Available
Sponsorships are now available for our 35th Anniversary Gala & Excellence in Partnership Awards, along with our 2014 Fall Training Conference. This two day event will be taking place on November 5th – 6th at the Ronald Reagan Building and JW Marriott.
We would like to thank our first committed sponsor to each event: BDO USA, LLP will be one of our GOLD SPONSOR at our Anniversary Gala and EIPs, and AvKARE will be our exclusive TITLE SPONSOR at our Fall Training Conference! Thank you for your early commitment and ensuring these events are a great success.
Want to make sure your organization doesn’t miss out? Check out the list of numerous sponsorship opportunities for these two events here. We are counting on your support!
A Notice for Furniture Manufacturers
The Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE), Huntsville notified prospective furniture offerors that the ACOE will use contractor personnel to assist in the review of technical proposals. Service contractors are being used to help process heavy end of year workload. Companies that have any objections to the disclosure of their information to non-government employees have an opportunity to submit objections by September 6. You can read the full notice here.
Request for Member Feedback on UPC Notice
FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe recently spoke with Coalition members about GSA’s recent notice to Schedule holders to submit UPC codes and MSNs for items on GSA Advantage. We appreciate Commissioner Sharpe for engaging in a Myth-buster’s dialogue with Schedule contractors on some of the issues involved in the implementation of the notice.
In response, the Coalition will provide written feedback and recommendations to GSA. We are asking members to please send their input on the UPC/MSN notice to Carolyn Alston at email@example.com by COB Monday, September 8, 2014. Based on the input received, we will prepare a draft for member review. Thank you again to all members who have submitted their thoughts thus far. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with GSA on data management for product labeling under the Schedules program.
EIP Award Nominations Open!
Nominate a deserving acquisition official for an EIP Award today! The Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Awards honor acquisition officials in the public and private sectors who have made significant strides in promoting and utilizing multiple award contracts, saving taxpayer dollars and contributing to veterans hiring and green initiatives. Awards will be given to individuals, organizations and contractors involved in procurement with GSA, VA, DoD, DHS and other government agencies. EIP Award nominations for 2014 are being accepted in the following categories:
1. Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award
2. Contractor Savings Award
3. Government Savings Award (Civilian)
4. Government Savings Award (DoD)
5. Myth-Busters Award
6. Best Veteran Hiring Program
7. Green Excellence in Partnership Award
DPAP Proposes Update to DFARS Business Systems Rule
On July 15th, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) published a proposed update to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Business Systems Rule. The update would require contractors to conduct self-assessments and report on business systems compliance. Inadequate or inaccurate reports could result in significant penalties, including liability under the False Claims Act. To view the proposed rule, visit www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfars/changenotice/2014/20140715/fr_2012-D042.pdf. Comments are due by September 15, 2014. Members interested in contributing to the Coalition’s comments, please contact Aubrey Woolley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Training – GSA Schedule Contracting for In-House Counsel, Sept 17
This class is a “must attend” for lawyers and corporate officials with significant contract management and compliance responsibilities in companies that have GSA Schedule contracts.
GSA Schedule contracts offer a huge market opportunity. The GSA Schedule, including the delegated VA Schedules, is a $50 billion contracting program that all federal agencies use to acquire commercial services and products. In some instances, state agencies can place orders against their contracts. These multiple year, government-wide contracts cover professional services, information technology, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and a vast array of commercial products.
Thousands of companies including both Fortune 500 companies and a vast number of small businesses have GSA/VA Schedule contracts.
Of particular interest to in-house counsel and corporate executives, Schedule contracts have a pricing methodology, and disclosure requirements that are unique in federal government contracting. The contracts provisions must be correctly understood, managed, and monitored to assure that your commercial enterprise realizes anticipated profits. Failure to do so can result in significant monetary, administrative, civil and even criminal penalties.
This seminar will provide information and tools to help you understand the GSA/VA Schedule contracting program and provide insightful advice to your in-house clients and business partners.
- Carolyn Alston, General Counsel and Executive VP, Coalition for Government Procurement
- John Horan, Partner, McKenna, Long & Aldridge
- Jason Workmaster, Partner, McKenna, Long & Aldridge
Who Should Attend
- In-house counsel for current GSA/VA Schedule contractors
- In-house counsel for companies considering becoming a GSA/VA Schedule contractor
- Government attorneys that advise clients who evaluate or buy against Schedule contracts
- Outside counsel interested in learning more about GSA/VA Schedule contracting
- Compliance Officers
- Non-lawyers with extensive MAS experience
- Contract Managers
- Contracting Officers
What you can Expect
After attending this seminar you will:
- Earn 6 hours VA CLE!
- Understand GSA/VA’s most favored customer pricing policy and major requirements of the government solicitation
- Understand current audit/oversight procedures
- Understand current GSA Schedule Price Negotiation Priorities
- Understand how the GSA Schedule can impact your company bottom line
Be able to advise your in-house clients regarding:
- Disclosure of company records
- Establishing management and compliance processes
- Establishing ethics programs and mandatory disclosure
- Avoiding penalties
- Identifying resources to assist with continuing legal support of your internal GSA/VA Schedule programs
Registration Fees and Details – Register Here!
- Registration opens at 7:15am
- Training will begin at 8:00am