Changes planned for FTS divisions

The General Services Administration's Federal Telecommunications Service next month will complete a reorganization to streamline and consolidate its growing divisions.

FTS commissioner Bob Woods confirmed that the organization will change its name possibly to the Government Technology Service a moniker selected to reflect the organization's increasing services. Nearly half of the organization's business now involves technology other than telecommunications. Individual program names such as FTS 2001 will remain the same Woods said.

Changes to FAST Program

GSA sources said other changes being considered by the agency would affect both the Federal Acquisition of Services for Technology (FAST) program and the Federal Computer Acquisition Center (Fedcac).

FTS officials confirmed there are likely to be changes to the FAST program which consists of billions of dollars worth of 8(a) set-aside contracts authorized by the Small Business Administration and which allows agencies that buy off the contracts to receive credit for supporting small disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses. Woods said he plans changes to the FAST program to sharpen its focus. "I do believe we need to market [FAST services] better and get the message over to our customers " he said. "But I don't think it needs a lot of reshaping."

He said Claude Garmon director of the national FAST program would remain in charge. But GSA's regional offices would face new restrictions on how they could market their services Woods said.

Although GSA regional offices most notably the office based in Kansas City Mo. have successfully used the FAST program to market IT services nationwide the reorganization would restrict them from marketing their services outside their respective regions. Woods said the restriction would mitigate confusion on the part of customers who might otherwise receive repeated marketing calls from FAST personnel representing different regions. "It would get strange from a customer's perspective when [representatives from] three different regions show up at the door on the same day " Woods said. "That's been an area we have agonized over."

Vendors Striking Deals

Although officials at GSA's Kansas City regional office privately expressed dissatisfaction with the decision vendors with contracts there already have begun scrambling to strike deals with other regions as well. Ron Spencer vice president of Planning Technologies Inc. in Atlanta said his company already has other regional contracts in addition to the one it has held for years in Kansas City.

"We have contracts with all of the regions so this doesn't really affect me " Spencer said. "A lot of companies have FAST contracts in the Washington region similar to the one we have in Kansas City so whether or not I do business with Kansas City doesn't really have an effect on whether we are successful."

Although FTS officials denied that any dramatic shift is planned for Fedcac a GSA source who requested anonymity said FTS officials are evaluating a number of options for Fedcac. Located in the Boston area Fedcac previously served as the computer procurement arm of the Air Force before it was taken over by GSA in 1991. Fedcac provided acquisition services for programs such as Coast Guard Workstations the Energy Department's Telecommunications Integrator Services and GSA's Virtual Data Center Services. Fedcac currently has a single project under evaluation GSA's Computing and Communications Recovery Services contract. The source said GSA may fold the organization into another office operating under FTS' Information Technology Integration Center.

"Fedcac isn't much of a moneymaker " the source said. "I think they are working on only one contract and a lot of the leadership there has retired."

John Ortego acting director of Fedcac who will be leaving GSA at the end of the month refused to comment on the fate of the organization. But he said he knew of no plans to name a new Fedcac director after his departure. John Okay deputy commissioner of FTS said the organization has not yet made a final decision on the future of Fedcac but he added that the organization would continue to exist in some capacity. "Our position is that we want to fill that position [of Fedcac director] and maintain the organization and function " Okay said.

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