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Acting Administrator Bibb Greets GSA Schedule Advisory Panel

Remarks by
David L. Bibb
Acting Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Multiple Awards Schedule Advisory Panel
Washington, DC
May 5, 2008

Thank you, Pat. Good morning and welcome, everyone.

Today marks the start of a process that will place GSA in the best possible position to confront the challenges facing our Multiple Awards Schedule Program.

I want to congratulate former Administrator Doan for forming this panel, and to thank Bob Flaak from the Office of Governmentwide Policy, and Dan Ross from the Office of General Counsel, for conducting the training that you just received. They’ve made sure you’re off to a great start.

Mostly, though, I want to express my deep gratitude to each of the panel members for graciously committing your time and expertise to this important endeavor.

It’s appropriate that we meet here at the American Institute of Architects, for:

  • Structural analysis,
  • Design quality,
  • And some possible remodeling will all be part of your job.

It reminds me that there are times when GSA has to renovate a federal courthouse without shutting down the facility, a daunting challenge to say the least. Similarly, the Multiple Awards Schedule Program – “MAS” for short – will continue to function as usual as you inspect, probe, analyze and write your proposal.

So thanks to the AIA for today’s meeting place and for an apt metaphor!

To the panel: I know that your final product will be a carefully considered list of recommendations that will help GSA best perform its core mission of supplying federal agencies with goods, services and workspace at best value.

We assembled this blue ribbon commission to review our GSA Schedules negotiation procedures and pricing policies and to provide objective, definitive guidance to government clients, government contractors, federal procurement and auditing professionals. Together you represent some of the nation’s best, brightest and most experienced procurement experts.

Why did we take this route? Very simply, no single organization owns the franchise on good ideas. We value expert, outside, impartial advice to complement our own employees’ thinking, and I know this group will provide just that!  The panel is comprised of members from large and small agencies, from FAS Global Supply, Acquisition Operations and Acquisition management, from industry, from the CAO Council, and from the auditing and the legal community.

Let me extend my special thanks to Chairman Elliott Branch, who is the Executive Director for Contracts from NAVSEA, and to our designated federal official, Pat Brooks from GSA’s Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.

I also want to acknowledge David Drabkin, GSA’s Chief Acquistion Officer, and Jim Williams, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, for their help in getting this panel up and running.

As Jim has said, the schedules program is a GSA success story and in many ways the backbone of our array of procurement vehicles. The schedules program was a great idea from the beginning. It enables us to negotiate the best prices for our client agencies on all the items they need to fulfill their missions of service for the American people.

That is never more important than during times of national emergency. The MAS program contracts are not only used to support our everyday business practices; they’re also utilized to support emergency and/or disaster situations.  Therefore, the health and well-being of the program is important because these impact the quality and timeliness of the service we provide when timeliness could translate to lives saved.

There are currently 39 different GSA Schedules with more than 17,000 contractors. Products and services provided cross just about all industries with a few exceptions, such as weapons for the Department of Defense.

GSA schedules have an enormously bright future (revenue is already up again through March to a new record level) and this panel will help pave the way to even more impressive results with policy recommendations for the next decade.

The panel has several goals and objectives:

  • To provide advice and recommendations on the pricing and price reduction provisions of the MAS program;
  • To determine whether changes to these policies and provisions are required or advisable to ensure that FAS negotiates prices that enable federal customers to award orders that represent "best value" and result in the lowest practicable cost alternative; 
  • To provide a balanced assessment through panel members who represent;
  • Stakeholders from government and industry;
  • Agencies that use the MAS program;
  • Industry partners that hold MAS program contracts;
  • And contracting officers that negotiate and award MAS contracts.

This process will be open and transparent, and the ultimate beneficiaries will be our citizens. While average taxpayers may never know the name of this panel or its members, be assured that I do and persons all across the federal procurement community do.  On behalf of all of us, let me say that I truly appreciate your skill, passion and spirit of public service.

Thank you very much.