Editorial: A schedule reorganization?

We'll be honest — we had to laugh when we read that the General Services Administration was considering creating a single schedule contract. But after the chuckle, we pondered. And we have become intrigued.

Earlier this month, Neal Fox, assistant commissioner of GSA's Office of Commercial Acquisition, told vendors that GSA was in the early stages of an effort to consolidate the 43 schedule contracts into a single schedule or a small number of schedules.

GSA officials are building a matrix of all the schedule solicitations so they can compare and contrast them to make a better assessment.

Of course, there was much hue and cry last year when it was discovered that interrogators at Abu Ghraib came through GSA's information technology contract. In that case, it was blatantly outside the scope of the contract.

At first glance, it appeared that GSA was dodging questions about whether activities were within the scope of a contract by eliminating the various scopes of the contracts.

Clearly, using an IT schedule contract for interrogators at Abu Ghraib was wrong. But a problem existed long before they determined what schedule to use.

As we further pondered the subject, we concluded that this is the time to review the divisions among schedule contracts.

So we credit GSA and Fox for evaluating the schedule contracts from the ground up.

GSA officials face significant logistical and practical challenges. For example, clauses in certain contracts don't work for all industries. And can the same workers who oversee contracts for furniture also oversee IT contracts? And if one schedule contract has various divisions, how would that differ from the current situation?

So those plans may never come to fruition. Certainly, they are unlikely to happen in the near future.

We doubt that GSA is conducting its review merely to avoid questions about scope. But if, as we expect, the plan seeks to gain greater efficiencies as a result of consolidating schedule contracts, GSA deserves credit for resisting the urge to just do things the way they have always been done. And we look forward to the results.

— Christopher J. Dorobek


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