Just the Facts FAS, Please

Earlier this week, a GSA watchdog discovered erroneous reporting of small business contracts by the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). (Government Executive September 17, 2020)

The General Service Administration (GSA) inspector general (IG) recently provided a report that focused on the data entered into the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation, which is managed by GSA. The Small Business Administration (SBA) uses the system data provided to determine if the federal government is achieving its annual goal of awarding 23 percent of contracts to small businesses. An IG review of FAS procurements from fiscal 2016 and 2017 and shows that small business procurements have been grossly overstated.

“We found that FAS’s reporting of small business procurements contained significant inaccuracies. We identified $89 million in procurements erroneously recorded as small business in the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation. Additionally, FAS’ small business procurement reporting does not identify the extent of the work performed by large businesses. We found approximately $120 million of small business procurements in which large businesses performed a portion of the work.” (ibid)

After interviewing small business contractors and GSA officials as well as analyzing agency contracting data, the IG determined many of the issues to be out of GSA’s control. For instance, the IG found that classification codes  often “pre-populate” for task orders; due to the nature of the software, officers cannot override the system to update the task order codes. In addition, no mandate exists for FAS or small businesses to report how much of the work completed on a contract is subcontracted to large businesses. This leads to inaccuracies when assessing FAS’s small business procurements. Many believe the inaccuracies will never be fully fixed due to the competing policy issues and marketplace anomalies. (ibid)

The IG recommended the following:

  • Fix the limitations of the contracting system to enable accurate reporting
  • SBA and the commissioner discuss how subcontracting and reseller agreements are reported

How does this affect your contract or an upcoming proposal? Give us a call.

GSA Pricing Tools, Untooling

A GSA internal watchdog has found the two comparative labor pricing tools contain flawed data and recommends GSA stop using the pricing tools. GSA however, plans to keep the current pricing tools in place for now. (FCS, January 2, 2020)

This report shows the use of discrepant data in flawed equations, thus arriving at unreliable pricing data. GSA’s Inspector General (IG) said, “the data and calculations are so flawed, they’re dulling the federal government’s buying power edge, as well as possibly resulting in the overpayment on contracts.” (ibid)

Julie Dunne, FAS Acting Commissioner, agrees with the IG that the two tools, Contract-Awarded Labor Category tool (CALC)  and Contract Operations Division Contractors Database (CODCD) used for labor pricing, are not the optimal. She also agrees about a need for pricing comparison capabilities; however, she refrains from wanting to scrap these tools in lieu of something else that might bring even greater inaccuracies. 

Dunne went on to say that without the current tools, labor pricing would be determined by individual searches via the internet resulting in more inaccuracies. She acknowledged that decisions on comparison pricing for labor have always been the judgment of FAS contracting officers. “Disallowing access to aggregated information about previously-awarded MAS contracts does not further our goal of improving pricing. Quality price analyses are the result of training, expertise and appropriate controls. FAS believes our continued focus in these areas will improve how comparative data is used in our MAS award documentation.” (ibid)

Have questions concerning your current labor pricing? Give us a call.

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.

GSA Chief’s Wrath for Whistleblower

Denise Turner Roth Retaliated Against Whistleblower

The Inspector General found that Ms. Roth she retaliated against a whistleblower, threatening him with transfer to another position and limiting his job responsibilities.

Sources reveal that this whistleblower is outgoing FAS commissioner Tom Sharpe.

Sharpe apparently alerted several executives about the Technology Transformation Service’s use of the Acquisition Services Fund, which the IG calls “violations of the law, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, and abuse of authority.”

Sharpe’s complaint detailed TTS’s use of the ASF money. The fund consists of fees agencies pay, governmentwide acquisition contract revenue, and sale of surplus properties. The TTS’s use of the money has met controversy, as many believe the service competes with work already provided to other agencies, and distracts from the mission of FAS. As such, some executives harbor concerns that these actions are counterproductive to FAS’s mission.

Roth denies any wrongdoing and calls the Inspector General’s findings “wrong and disappointing.” She maintains that “all actions I took were necessary and driven to modernize the federal government.”

The Inspector General has referred the case to the Office of Special Counsel.

For more information, visit Federal News Radio.

The IG’s Eye’s on you

The Inspector General’s biannual report to Congress was especially telling this year. The report covered October 2016 to March 2017.

In that period, the office audited 31 contractors. They found that 21 partners did not submit honest information, 13 overcharged GSA customers, eight did not adequately report schedule sales, and five did not comply with price reduction provisions.

All of that adds up to $224 million in savings through smarter or less spending. The IG also noted that GSA’s digital services wing, intended to cover its own costs, had guzzled $32 million government dollars.

The IG recommended no fewer than 168 cases for legal action, of which 49 faced prosecution and 41 indictment. More than 100 companies were suspended and debarred.

The moral of the story is to keep a tight ship; you don’t want to answer to the inspector general.