Tag Archives: GSA

GSA Whistleblower Vindicated, FAS and TTS Realignment, and Politics – Not as Usual?


Shakeups in the management of the General Services Administration (GSA) continue to cascade and make waves. In early July, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced that it reached a settlement with the GSA on behalf of recently-resigned Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Thomas Sharpe. In its letter to President Trump on July 5th, the OSC agreed with Sharpe’s allegations that GSA had “grossly mismanaged its Technology Transformation Service (TTS).”

Following our previous blog post and shortly after Sharpe’s resignation as FAS Commissioner, the GSA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report regarding its investigation into allegations that former GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth retaliated against a whistleblower. The report revealed that Sharpe made protected whistleblower disclosures about “concerns of violations of law, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds and abuse of authority” to Roth and others at GSA, including the former Deputy Administrator, the former General Counsel, and the OIG.

Sharpe objected to the use of GSA’s multi-billion dollar Acquisition Services Fund (ASF) to fund the activities of two new GSA technology initiatives, 18F and TTS. As the executive responsible for the ASF, Sharpe had serious concerns about whether 18F and TTS were responsibly investing these funds. In response to these claims an independent investigation was launched by the GSA OIG. It concluded that 18F “[had] not developed a viable plan to achieve full cost recovery” and ran up a net loss of $31M between October 2014 and June 2016.

In a later investigation of Sharpe’s allegations of whistleblower reprisal, the OIG found that Roth had retaliated against Sharpe after he objected to her use of the ASF by threatening to transfer him and reduce his job responsibilities at FAS. In June 2017, the FAS Commissioner was made into a political position and Sharpe was replaced by appointee Alan Thomas. At the same time, the TTS was moved under the FAS. The OSC stated that this reorganization “does very little to address the management challenges” facing the TTS.

Despite the recent shakeup, on July 12th, newly installed Commissioner Thomas and TTS Director Rob Cook voiced their commitment to helping smooth out federal IT acquisition in a joint hearing of the House Oversight Committee’s IT and Government Operations Subcommittee. Thomas told Subcommittee Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) that he would help the lawmaker shape legislation that would support commercial marketplaces, which could potentially provide federal agencies with faster access to less expensive IT products and services.

We anticipate there will be some challenges ahead for GSA Schedule holders as the GSA works out the integration of TTS into the FAS organization under its new leadership. Functions, programs, roles, and responsibilities will need to be reviewed for duplication and efficiencies. Additionally, as the Trump administration moves forward with efforts to “modernize the federal government,” agencies may need to be educated or reeducated on the best acquisition vehicle for their technology needs.

For any questions, please contact Vanessa Payne at 240.364.2663 or vpayne@aronsonllc.com.

GSA IG Recommends Pricing Review of over 300 Migrated Professional Services Schedule Contracts

The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) published a report on March 21, 2017, titled “Audit of Price Evaluations and Negotiations for the Professional Services Schedule Contracts.” According to the IG audit, GSA’s process to consolidate eight pre-existing schedules into the Professional Services Schedule (PSS) resulted in the award of new contracts without establishing price reasonableness. Contracting officers also used a combined “Pre and Price Negotiation Memorandum” template that does not conform to Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) policy. Finally, contract files lack sufficient documentation to determine fair and reasonable pricing. In February 2017, GSA’s FAS initiated price reevaluations for all 322 migrated contracts to ensure prices awarded were fair and reasonable.

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GSA Contemplates Making Transactional Data Reporting Pilot Participation Optional

At a recent industry event, Kevin Youel Page, the deputy commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), made a surprising revelation – GSA is considering making participation in its controversial Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot program completely optional. Currently, only existing contractors can choose whether they want to participate, and even they have to participate if they add a Special Item Number (SIN) to their contract or renew it. Mandatory participation also applies to all new offers against Schedules included the pilot.

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Small Business Recertification, Sick Leave, Wage Determinations Among Coming GSA Schedule Changes

As part of the regulatory updates to Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts, General Services Administration (GSA) announced in an Interact blog post on March 9, 2017, that contracting officers may require contractors re-representing their size status from small to large to submit a subcontracting plan after the re-certification. A number of other impactful changes will be incorporated in the upcoming round of solicitation refreshes.

In a March 22 webinar, GSA noted that several of the updates have already appeared in recent refreshes to a few solicitations – most notably the Professional Services Schedule. Refreshes to the remaining schedule solicitations are tentatively planned for April 2017. Here are the changes contractors should review carefully before accepting the mandatory modification:

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GSA Roundtable on Transactional Data Rule Highlights Industry Concerns

On February 7, the General Services Administration (GSA) hosted a roundtable panel event to discuss its pilot program under the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) rule. The discussion included Kevin Youel Page, the Deputy Commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS); Judith Zawatsky, the Director of GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program Management Office; Elliott Branch, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Acquisition & Procurement); and Larry Allen, the President of Allen Federal Business Partners.

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