The Week Ahead - September 23, 2013



The Office of Management and Budget has taken the unusual step of issuing guidance to federal agencies on the steps they need to take to prepare for a possible shutdown as of midnight September 30th. If Congress fails to pass a spending measure, most likely a Continuing Resolution (CR), by that time, agencies will be out of money and forced to close all but the most essential operations. Allen Federal puts the chances of some sort of short-term government shut down at 40%. There has not been a funding-related shutdown since 1995, but the prospects for one this year are as high as they were then. House Republicans are tying the passage of a CR to the elimination of funding to implement the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka “Obamacare”. A government shut-down would wreak havoc on contractors, as well as government employees. Contractors working on government sites would be barred from their offices and their companies would most likely not be compensated for lost time. A shut-down, if it comes, would likely only last 2-3 days, but its impact could be much larger. If no shut-down comes at the start of the fiscal year, House members will still get a chance to shut down part of the government later this year when a vote to raise the federal debt ceiling comes, most likely sometime in mid-October. Either way, FY’14 is headed for a rocky start.



We tend to focus a lot on these pages about the importance of the government contracting officer in the procurement process. This is for good reason. Many is the company that has lost a project they “knew” they had because they failed to establish good relationships with such people. There is another group of people, however, who are also often overlooked, but are nevertheless a critical part of any procurement: Your customer’s finance officials. Just as CO’s are the only ones that can bind the government to a contract, financial officials are the only ones who can actually provide funding. They are especially important people in today’s market where priority programs compete for scarce dollars. Before your company expends considerable financial resources to pursue a specific project, it is essential to ensure that the government intends to do the same. How do you reach these people? Ideally, you should be able to leverage the relationships you already have with the end-user. Ask for a name and contact information so that you can make a connection yourself. If your customer is reluctant to provide this information, go yourself or get a third party to inquire for you. While this type of inquiry can be uncomfortable, so too is having to stand before senior management explaining why that large order in your pipeline was suddenly de-funded.



In a previous edition of The Week Ahead Allen Federal asked readers whether GSA’s recent consolidation in the DC area of three buildings into one had impacted the pace of contract modifications and renewals. Whether or not the consolidation is actually the issue, respondents overwhelmingly said that it is now more difficult to reach contract specialists and contracting officers, that modifications and renewals are taking longer, and that the frustration level of contractors is on the rise. While some of the concerns are likely attributable the consolidation effort, it should also be noted that responses were received that indicated slower trends across the Schedules program. Whether or not the immediate impact of consolidation and widespread telework will even out over time, GSA leaders have made a point of having their contracts offer the latest technologies at competitive prices. This is the cornerstone of their drive to win back procurement market share. Providing the resources necessary to support their largest program, whether they be physical or personnel in nature, would seem to be an important part of achieving that goal.



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  • The Mandatory Disclosure Requirements
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October 21-22 Basics of Multiple Award Schedule Contracting A basic-level course covering key elements of multiple award schedule contracting and recent developments affecting the practice. October 23-24 Advanced Issues in Multiple Award Schedule Contracting Course covers the primary areas of Schedule Contracting, with a special focus on compliance, audits, and risk avoidance. 1. To learn more about Contract Compliance Week, visit 2. To download a conference brochure, visit To register, visit or call 1.888.494.3696