Say it ain’t so SAM…

So yes, GSA’s SAM (the System for Award Management) is as vulnerable to hacking and fraud as any other database, and now we have the proof. Apparently the Inspector General’s office has found that payments purportedly sent by the government never arrived at their intended contractors’ offices and instead were sent to a third party. Reason being that someone went in and changed the address. Hackers hackers everywhere.

GSA has contacted some contractors, but it is likely that more fraud is out there. We suggest you check your SAM to ensure your address and DUNS number are correct. If you see inconsistencies, contact your Contracting Officer and the Federal Service Desk (866-606-8220) immediately. If there has been fraud associated with your SAM registration, you will need to go through the usual rigamarole to prove that you are you, including notarizing a letter, etc.

For more information, contact us here at EZGSA (301-913-5000) or go to the active GSA page.

Final Rule released for Common Commercial Terms

GSA Final Rule Defines Common Commercial Terms

On February 22, GSA issued a Final Rule addressing common terms that are inconsistent with Federal Law. The rule aims to streamline agreements over CSAs, EULAs, Terms of Sale, and similar sets of terms and conditions. The rule reverses several controversial provisions from an earlier Proposed Rule and class deviation by reverting the order of precedence and eliminating the requirement to provide full text of all provisions.

The rule also formalizes the longstanding stance that certain terms and conditions cannot be enforced by law via a paragraph addition to GSAR 552.212-4. The paragraph identifies 15 common commercial terms, which are viewed as non-negotiable and required by federal law. It prohibits automatic  renewals, and provides that disputes are governed by federal law. The change allows GSA to ignore these clauses during negotiations, thereby reducing time and expenses. Among the included terms are:

  • commercial supplier agreements
  • unenforceability of unauthorized obligations
  • solicitation provisions and contract clauses for the acquisition of commercial items

GSA responded well to industry complaints about the proposed rule, modifying or reversing the most egregious propositions.

For more information see the National Law Review.

GSA Chief Wants to Reveal Task Order Data

GSA Chief Emily Murphy May Make Task Order Data More Transparent

Image result for emily murphy gsa

Emily Murphy is contemplating making information on all multiple-award contracts public in the name of transparency. At present, only companies with spots on the solicitations can see relevant solicitations and awards, which offers business intelligence and a competitive edge on the federal market. In 2016, GSA spent over $110 billion through 2,600 multiple-award contracts.

Murphy has had  conversations with both the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Governmentwide Policy. She is currently waiting for the  Federal Acquisition Service to deliver options that might offer some greater transparency. According to Murphy, “This needs to be addressed not just in the microcosm of the GSA schedules…. We need to be looking across government and making sure we are not disadvantaging the schedules program versus other programs, and we are not putting our vendors or our customers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Transparency is only one of four goals Murphy has set for  her term running GSA. Read more here.

Hard Shutdown

Shutdown? Shut up!

Since Saturday, the United States government has been closed, shut down, unplugged (etc.), including the General Services Administration (GSA) and FAS. Right now, GSA is deferring to 4220.1K ADM, the Order which dictates “Operations in the Absence of Appropriations.”

What does this mean for our clients? Unfortunately, if you currently hold a GSA Schedule, you will not see any work done on your contract modifications and will not receive any government payments. Work for government agencies under the GSA Schedule must be halted during this time unless it is of mission critical importance (you will have been notified if this is you). Companies with proposals into GSA will be in a holding pattern for now, whether they are recently submitted and being triaged to the correct Contracting Officer, under administrative review, in negotiations, or awaiting final award.

“GSA’s role as an aggregator of large numbers of government assets and a supplier of critical tools, equipment, and supplies to other Federal agencies requires that GSA retain adequate staffing under a lapse in appropriations in order to protect Federal property under GSA’s custody and control and to continue to provide critical support to other Federal agencies’ exempt and excepted activities necessary for the protection of life and Federal property.”

In other words, GSA is mostly shut down. Buildings remain open for maintenance, power, and cleaning in a reduced capacity. Small crews are also being kept around to ensure protection of GSA assets and property, and to support other essential Federal agencies. GSA is held more responsible than other agencies to maintain their regular tasks. Think of it as a GSA skeleton crew. When the shutdown is over, GSA will update plans, decide what to do about missed events, and catch up with all the work piling up right now.

We are hopeful this shutdown ends soon. Stay vigilant, folks!

Done With DUNS?

GSA issues RFI for alternative to Dun & Bradstreet’s legal identifiers

GSA has issued a RFI and a draft performance work statement in pursuit of an alternative to the current legal identifiers supplied by Dun & Bradstreet. GSA is “exploring all viable means of continuing to meet its ongoing need for entity identification and validation services after the contract’s expiration.” The new RFI builds upon an earlier request from February, and primarily seeks feedback on the statement of work.

The draft states that GSA aims to fill both technical and business needs. They highlight the need to “Determine entity uniqueness, which could include the assignment and/or use of a unique entity identifier in perpetuity, validation of certain entity data, and associated services,” as well as a method of understanding the hierarchy of entities,  and “a method to determine relevant information about an entity that is being excluded from doing business with the government.”

Technical objectives include real-time data for validation services, machine-readable formatting that doesn’t require custom software, and transfer and resting data encryption. The RFI has been widely welcomed by Dun & Bradstreet, as well as other industry partners. The contract expires in 2018, so be ready for changes.