The Week Ahead - May 27, 2013

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PRESIDENT FORMALLY NOMINATES TANGHERLINI – WHAT TO EXPECT

Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini was formally (some would say finally) nominated by President Obama late last week to be the permanent Administrator. While Tangherlini’s vision for the agency may already be known, there are some seeming conflicts within this overall view. How those are reconciled may well determine GSA’s relevancy for years to come. First, Tangherlini has said that he wants GSA to grow its market share of federal acquisitions. This goal is in keeping with the classic mission of the agency: being the central buyer for the government. At the same time, however, he is a steadfast proponent of the government’s version of strategic sourcing. As implemented so far, this means reducing choices available to federal customers. Traditionally, this approach has not worked well as a diverse federal government with multiple missions inevitably seeks localized solutions they feel better meet their needs. Tangherlini also favors greater centralization within his own agency, a move that may restrict the ability of regional offices to offer customized solutions to federal customers. Lastly, he will oversee the consolidation of all non-regional GSA staff into one Washington, D.C. location. How the resultant telework experience will impact the agency’s productivity is very much an open question. Whether Senators will seek the answers to any of these, though, is a question itself.

 

GAO REPORT UNDESCORES FACT: FEDS CAN’T DO IT ALONE

Over 1,400 positions in the Army and Air Force deemed “inherently governmental” were actually performed by contractors, according to a GAO report released late last week. The report underscores a basic fact: In a time of hiring freezes and increased retirements, the federal government must turn to contractors in order to meet its mission. This reality means opportunity for firms that offer a wide variety of services. Everything from managerial to logistical, engineering, and even acquisition support requires the helping hand of a contractor to accomplish. There is not much end in sight to this type of opportunity, either. Congress votes to freeze federal pay on a Tuesday, but by Thursday they’ve passed laws with new rules and reporting requirements that they expect federal agencies to accomplish. Service contractors should be actively pursuing, and even suggesting, such opportunities to their strapped federal partners. Still not convinced that contractors are a “must hire”? The same GAO report cited above went on to say that, even though the contractors identified were performing inherently governmental work, they couldn’t be replaced due to a federal hiring freeze and lay-offs of temporary workers.

 

FURLOUGH SITUATION LEAVING YOU AND YOUR CUSTOMER CONFUSED?

First “everyone” was going to be furloughed.. Next, “everyone” would be furloughed, but for fewer days. Later, “some” people would be furloughed. Now, “some” of the people who were going to be furloughed won’t be. This is more like an Abbot and Costello routine than a way to run a government. Yet, contractors and their government customers are being asked to try and conduct the business of government in exactly this atmosphere. While contractors can’t control what the government might do, they can control their own actions. You have a business to run, no matter whether anyone in your customer agencies is furloughed. Stick to what you know and do well. Service customers, call on leads, pay attention to who has money to spend, prepare for a federal year-end that could shape up nicely. When you do encounter a nervous or distracted federal customer, listen to what they have to say. What frustrations is the customer expressing that you can possibly help them with? Make sure that you’re there and ready to assist whether your customer needs a solution or just a friendly ear.

 

SCHEDULE COMPLIANCE GOT YOU STUMPED? WHETHER YOU NEED THE BASICS OR ADVANCED HELP, CHECK OUT THESE SCHEDULE CLASSES FEATURING ALLEN FEDERAL AND SHEPPARD MULLIN

It’s time again for some of the most popular GSA Schedule classes of the year, Federal Publications Seminars’ Basics and Advanced Issues in Multiple Award Schedule Contracting. The Basics class runs June 10-11 and the Advanced class follows on June 12th and 13th . Both events are at the Executive Conference and Training Center in Dulles. VA. Taught by the highly sought after team of Sheppard Mullins’ Jonathan Aronie and Alex Major with Larry Allen of Allen Federal, these classes give you everything you need to ensure both business and contract compliance success. What could be better? How about a discount?! Readers of The Week Ahead get 50% off IF they register in advance and use the code “MultiAward 50”. So, sign up today for this educational and entertaining course at: http://www.conferenceandtraining.com/ or call 888.494.3696. Next to Las Vegas, what could be better than two days in Dulles with Jonathan, Alex, and Larry?!