Lawmakers question GSA on contract abuses, reorganization

Lawmakers are taking a closer look at the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service after agency officials discovered contract abuses at regional offices.

Members of the House Government Reform Committee also said they were interested in how GSA is reorganizing FTS and the Federal Supply Service nearly 18 months after Accenture LLP of Chicago found the two organizations offered overlapping services.

'FTS seems to be the primary source of GSA's recent management challenges,' Tom Davis, chairman of the committee, said at a hearing today. 'There have been disturbing revelations of what may well be a pattern of serious mismanagement throughout the FTS. The committee is closely following this unfolding story, and we must be ready to remedy the situation if allegations of widespread abuse and mismanagement at FTS prove to be true.'

Davis said the committee will explore ways, including legislation, by which FTS and FSS could be restructured to have better oversight of contracting activities.

GSA administrator Stephen Perry, FTS commissioner Sandra Bates and FSS commissioner Donna Bennett testified about GSA's plans for better contract oversight and their progress on the FSS and FTS reorganization.

The General Accounting Office and industry associations'the IT Association of America and the Coalition for Government Procurement'told the committee GSA was making progress but needed to do more.

'GSA needs to help agencies take a more strategic approach to coordinating their procurement requirements to better leverage their buying power and obtain the most advantageous terms and conditions for their purchases,' said William Woods, GAO director of acquisition and sourcing management.

Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said having two commissioners contributed to the contracting abuses and called for GSA to centralize management.

Davis also questioned whether GSA's soon-to-be proposed governmentwide acquisition contract to replace FTS 2001, called Networx, is necessary.

Perry said GSA wants industry feedback to help it decide whether it should move forward with the GWAC or let agencies buy telecommunications services from the FSS schedules.

Click for Sept. 29 GCN story, "FTS aims to erase procurement weaknesses"

Click for Sept. 30 GCN story, "Board tells GSA to let eight GWACs expire"

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