Governmentwide contracts program will remain intact

GSA official says he was making a long-term projection when he told conference participants the agency would merge GWACs with its schedules program.

A General Services Administration official said the agency remains fully committed to its governmentwide contracts program, one day after reports it would stop supporting all but a few of the vehicles.

Ed O'Hare, assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, on Thursday clarified comments about the future of the agency's governmentwide acquisition contracts made during a panel discussion in Washington on Wednesday. During the conference O'Hare predicted that in the future GSA will merge its GWAC program with its schedules program. That was merely a projection of what the marketplace could look like down the road, not a statement of policy, he said Thursday.

"[GSA is] absolutely committed to the GWACs program today and in the future," O'Hare said.

The schedules program is used primarily for commercial products and services, while GWACs are by definition intended for noncommercial services, particularly related to information technology. GWACs also offer options such as cost-plus contracts, which reimburse companies based on their incurred expenses plus a profit. Cost-plus contracts are not available on the schedules.

O'Hare said during the panel discussion he believes eventually combining the contracting vehicles would be beneficial to taxpayers.

"The reasons are efficiency and effectiveness," O'Hare said. "When vendors have to bid on multiple contracts that [creates] costs and those come back to the taxpayer. It's about lowering the costs of products and services."

O'Hare said the governmentwide contracts set to expire in the next year, such as the IT goods and services arrangements Answer, Millennia and Millennia Lite, will not be renewed because they have been replaced by the Alliant and Alliant Small Business contracts.

A shift to a single acquisition vehicle, he said, would require legislative, regulatory and contractual changes. It is impossible at this point to have a single contract that meets all of federal customers' requirements, he added.

O'Hare said he is very happy with the interest agencies have shown since receiving the green light to proceed with Alliant one month ago.

"I'm really happy with the statements of work and the pipeline building up," O'Hare said. "We're excited about the contract."