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PSC calls for 'fundamental' procurement reforms

Sep. 10, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By JIM McELHATTON   |   Comments
Stan Z. Soloway, President and Chief Executive Officer, Professional Services Council testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year.
Stan Z. Soloway, President and Chief Executive Officer, Professional Services Council testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee earlier this year. (Thomas Brown/Staff)

The Professional Services Council is lobbying members of Congress and administration officials for “fundamental” acquisition reforms across government, including expanding the reach of the White House procurement office and exploring ways to decrease bid protests.

Officials for the trade group, which represents government services contractors, said it’s too early to say how the bid protest process might be reformed, but industry leader joined in the chorus of complaints long echoed by government officials.

“There’s a certain amount of frustration that it slows business down,” said Ellen Glover, a commission member and executive vice president of ICF International Inc. Her comments came during a press briefing Monday as the PSC unveiled a commission report addressing what officials called “the intersection of federal human capital, acquisition and technology.”

One idea floated by PSC would call on the government to release information to contractors that otherwise only would be disclosed during the discovery process of a bid protest or lawsuit.

That way, contractors, armed with better quality post-contract information, might realize they have little to protest.

“It’s not until they get through that discovery process that they find out the information they’d need [to decide] if there’s really enough worth protesting,” PSC CEO Stan Soloway said.

Among other report recommendations, PSC called for amending the Office of Procurement Policy Act to expand the responsibilities of the White House’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP).

Specifically, the group is urging that OFPP be given statutory authority over the entire acquisition workforce while being restructured as the Office of Federal Acquisition Management and Policy.

The newly formed office would have authority and responsibility for developing a career path for program managers, according to the report.

PSC also called for a government-industry exchange program, where government employees can join the private sector while avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

The recommendation mirrors one floated by OFFP Administrator Joe Jordan in July. At an appearance before the National Contract Management Association conference, Jordan raised the possibility of having contract officers rotate between government and the private sector.

“Is there a way where we can have people kind of bounce back and forth ... between industry and agencies?” Jordan said at the time.

“There are all sorts of issues, I know,” said Jordan. “But I refuse to say this is off the table.”

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