Sign on the dotted line…

On the recent-GSA-trend front, our EZGSA proposal specialists have noticed our Contracting Officers making a small but significant change to GSA Schedule awards.

Until recently, COs would provide us with a GSA Schedule contract number immediately upon issue and contractor signature of the SF1449. This allowed businesses to begin marketing their Schedules immediately, as well as prepare for new task orders with interested government clients. Recently, however, the COs have been waiting to give a contract number until it has been countersigned. And the number is being issued with a modification, effectively changing the contract before it’s been awarded.

A little confusing, yes. Tragic, no. But if you have questions, give us a call and we will do our best to answer them. 301-913-5000.

Federal Travelers take note: GSA releases FY2019 Per Diem Rates

You knew it was coming …. GSA released the fiscal year (FY) 2019 travel per diem rates, which will take effect on October 1, 2018. GSA sets these rates for the Continental United States annually. Rates are based on local market costs of mid-priced hotels, lodging per diem rates provide caps, or maximum amounts, that can be reimbursed to federal employees for lodging and meals while on official travel.

For more information on FY 2019 travel per diem rates, please visit www.gsa.gov/perdiem.

 

 

Oh Say Can You See? Focus on the Micro-Purchase Threshold

During a recent industry day, GSA reiterated that the Portals Program will focus on transactions under the Micro-Purchase Threshold. The current draft of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act grants a GSA request to increase the Micro-Purchase threshold for purchases through approved portals to $25,000. If included  in the final draft, this will make the Portals Program the preferred vehicle for any micro-purchases. The GSA Schedules Program will remain the preferred contracting vehicle for all other commercial item procurements. GSA said this would simplify the acquisition process and address federal buying requirements (such as considering AbilityOne and designated small business contractors for procurement).

On the other hand, not all industry partners are so enthusiastic. Will this create two completely separate market places for the same services and products, at two different price barriers? Some contractors are nervous that the Portal initiative might create a different compliance structure from Multiple Award Contracts,  potentially leaving businesses with difficult decisions. The concern is that the move will create parallel systems of compliance and companies will have to weigh the cost of navigating both.

Roger Waldron, president of Coalition for Government Procurement, has an example. “If there are compliance requirements in one channel and they don’t exist in another channel, do (businesses) stay in the channel where they have compliance requirements and increase costs and lower margins? They are going to be making those kinds of business decisions ultimately.”

In response, GSA officials said they are still weighing how to design the policies for the portals and would be testing the new micropurchase threshold in a proof of concept pilot sometime next year. Jeffrey Koses of the Office of Governmentwide Policy said GSA is “still trying to determine if this is more of an [indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity] type of relationship or is this something else. It’s a fair question. I don’t know if we have all of the answers at this point.”

GSA released two RFIs about the regulations needed- one for suppliers that sell on commercial e-commerce platforms and one for commercial providers. Leave your thoughts there, or in our comments.

Ride the On-Ramp to OASIS

GSA to add On-Ramps to OASIS unrestricted pools

On May 9, GSA announced plans to add vendors to two underused OASIS pools: pool two for financial services, and pool six for aircraft R&D.

OASIS, a set of 10-year government wide multiple-award-contracts, totals $60 billion for knowledge-based services such as management and consulting services. GSA plans to make 15 contract awards for pool two, and two contract awards for pool six. A final RFP should be released by May 31, after which vendors will have 30 days to submit proposals.

Since fiscal year 2015, most contract holders on most pools haven’t won many orders. GSA is currently focusing on the pools with the lowest spending levels. Contractors considering a bid should assess themselves against the self-scoring evaluation in the original solicitation. There are currently no minimum scores for the pools on the table.

 

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.