On behalf of the Coalition for Federal Financial Accountability (CFFA), I would like to
point out that the GCN editorial, “Bullish on reforms” [GCN, Aug. 24, Page 24], inaccurately represents our

Furthermore, there are substantive omissions in the editorial about the true impact of
eliminating the General Services Administration’s Financial Management Systems
Software Schedule.

CFFA was formed to promote taxpayer interests and save tax dollars by supporting the
preservation of the FMSS Schedule. CFFA is not merely a coalition of vendors. While we are
proud to have five FMSS Schedule vendors in our ranks, the majority of our 47 members are
small businesses, government subcontractors not on the FMSS Schedule, government waste
experts and taxpayers.

The second misrepresentation is the statement, “There’s no indication so far
that anyone will intervene on the coalition’s behalf.” Jim Miller, former Office
of Management and Budget director and CFFA member, wrote to Congress urging members to
investigate and put a stop to GSA’s decision to eliminate the FMSS Schedule, stating
the decision “could cripple the federal government’s ability to track and manage
its finances accurately and to provide taxpayer accountability.”

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has sent a letter to GSA inquiring why there are plans to
eliminate the FMSS Schedule and questioning why GSA is making these decisions behind
closed doors without vendor and taxpayer input. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) already has
informed GSA that he will be making similar inquiries in a letter to be signed by him and
Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). And more members of Congress are making inquiries about
continuation of the FMSS Schedule.

The editorial’s third misrepresentation is that “vendors don’t welcome
the competition or agencies being able to pick and choose among more products and
services.” GSA, however, has admitted to CFFA that there will be fewer vendors
participating if it were to eliminate the FMSS Schedule program because smaller companies
will not be able to respond to the anticipated increased marketing demands.

Moreover, GSA has suggested the Information Technology Schedule program run a
rule-of-three notification procedure. This certainly will be an anti-competitive procedure
because fewer companies will be able to be involved in bidding.

The fourth misrepresentation is that, under the IT schedule program, “agencies,
with more buying freedom, will have the responsibility of building financial systems that
are interoperable and conform to federal standards.”

Giving that responsibility to agencies was already tried back in the late ’80s,
when the federal government realized it had to do something about the chaotic state of
federal financial management. Agencies no longer have the expertise and manpower to build
their own financial systems. And when they did, they were unsuccessful. Agencies rely on
vendors because the companies have invested millions of dollars in product development to
meet the agencies’ needs.

The long and short of it is that CFFA does promote change as long as change will
provide efficiencies and save dollars for taxpayers.

Elimination of the FMSS Schedule does just the opposite. In fact, it would obstruct
Congress’ ability to track where and how federal agencies are spending taxpayer
dollars. The FMSS Schedule streamlines the federal procurement process and ensures that
agencies obtain the highest quality financial management systems at the lowest possible
price in a competitive environment.

Michael F. Canning Jr.
Executive director
Coalition for Federal Financial Accountability

In the article on 3Com Corp.’s U.S. Robotics 56-Kbps modem [GCN, Sept. 7, Page 40], the reviewer stated that
“data traveling upstream is limited to a maximum 33.6 Kbps.” Further on he
writes, “When two U.S. Robotics 56-Kbps modems called each other, they connected at
47.8 Kbps” This leads readers to believe they will then communicate at this rate.

Although the modems are connected at 47.8 Kbps, they will not achieve this rate during
actual transmission because one or the other is always sending data upstream. So, in
reality, they can only communicate at a maximum speed of 33.6 Kbps. This is an
unpublicized limitation of 56-Kbps modems.

Dan Cervo
Program analyst
Systems Management Center
Army Communications-Electronics Command
Fort Monmouth, N.J.

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