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Doan Creates Expert Panel to Ensure Best Value for GSA Client Agencies

Remarks by
Lurita A. Doan
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel
Press Conference
Washington, DC
April 17, 2008

Hi, thank you to everyone for calling in, and good afternoon.

GSA’s Multiple Awards Schedule (MAS) program faces some serious challenges that we will now confront.  Often times, the government is not a very good customer, with confusing guidelines and standards.  Sometimes, it seems as if these standards and guidelines are all too frequently applied differently and sometimes changed retroactively by government managers and auditors.  As a result, companies across the country report that they are growing increasingly frustrated, and I am concerned that this could translate into a growing reluctance to list their products and services on the GSA schedule. 

I have assembled this Blue Ribbon Commission—called the Multiple Awards Advisory Panel--- to review our GSA Schedules negotiation procedures and pricing policies to provide objective, definitive guidance to government clients, government contractors, federal procurement and auditing professionals.  We have assembled some of the best, brightest and most experienced procurement experts in the U.S., with several hundred years of collective procurement experience among them.

GSA doesn’t own the franchise on good ideas.  We value expert, outside, impartial advice, and thanks to this panel, I expect we’re going to get plenty.   As you know, under the Multiple Award Schedule program, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service  (FAS) negotiates and awards contracts for commercial products and services. The federal government and other authorized users issue orders against the contracts. The goal requires that MAS contracts and orders result in the lowest overall cost alternative.

That is how GSA is able to provide goods and services to our sister agencies “at best value.”  But, we may be able to do even better.  That’s the idea behind this panel, which will provide independent advice and recommendations to our Schedules’ Program on pricing policies.

I want to thank in advance those who have agreed to serve on this prestigious panel, which includes members from large and small agencies, from FAS Global Supply and Acquisition Management, from industry, from the CAO council, and from the auditing and the legal community.

The Chairman will be Elliott Branch, Executive Director for contracts from NAVSEA.

Our designated federal official is Pat Brooks from GSA’S Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.   I have enormous confidence in Pat, and complete confidence in her expertise.  I believe that with Pat as our Designated Federal Officer (DFO), we have someone with both professional experience as a warranted contracting officer, as well as practical experience. As someone who has worked with auditors, clients and contracting professionals on a variety of different procurements, Pat is a person who understands, first hand, the challenges that I have been describing.

David Drabkin, GSA’s Chief Acquisition Officer, and Jim Williams, the Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), have both provided substantive input into the shaping of this Blue Ribbon Panel.

GSA Schedules have an enormously bright future (their revenue is already up 6% this quarter) and this Panel will help pave the way with policy recommendations for the next decade of GSA Schedules.

You may know that my favorite words are “yes” and “now,” and I have asked Pat to have the MAS Advisory Panel provide recommendations as quickly as is feasibly possible.

Thank you very much.