GSA awards $222M support services pact

The General Services Administration last month awarded a $222 million contract to STG Inc. of Fairfax, Va., for information technology and communications support services.

The services will be available mainly to agencies operating within GSA's mid-Atlantic region, which covers Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. But Jack Wise, director of acquisition services at the region's Federal Technology Services office, said offices in other regions may order from the STG contract, although GSA will not actively market it to them.

The predominant services provided by STG will be local- and wide-area network support, desktop automation support, maintenance and help desk, Wise said. STG officials said they also expect to provide Year 2000 conversion services as well.

Wise said GSA elected to do a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract award— as opposed to a multiple-award task-order vehicle— to make ordering easier for agencies that use the contract. "We didn't think we would be doing our customers a great service by making them go through a process of mini-evaluations [among multiple-award contract winners]," Wise said.

The award was a set aside for small, disadvantaged vendors and attracted 16 bidders, Wise said. STG was selected solely on the basis of the company's past performance, he said.

Steve Rhodes, a former GSA employee who left another company to become senior vice president for engineering at STG subsequent to the contract award, said GSA's mid-Atlantic region had been "burned" previously on a best-value contract for IT services after the winning vendor bid labor rates that were too low. He said the vendor was unable to deliver adequate services at the rates promised.

STG president Simon Lee, recently named the Washington, D.C., area's Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Administration, said his company won the contract on the basis of positive feedback given to GSA contracting personnel by other agencies that have awarded contracts to STG.

Lee said STG gave GSA 12 references at the departments of State, Justice and Labor who could attest to the company's work. "GSA checked all of the references and called some of them twice," he said.

The award is the second issued by the region that was based solely on past performance, Wise said. The region used past performance to award a contract last summer to Signal Corp. for IT business support services. Wise described the Signal contract as "very successful."

Wise said he is unaware of any other major acquisitions that have emphasized past performance so strongly, despite the urgings of past performance advocates such as procurement reform czar Steven Kelman, former director of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. "One of...Kelman's main points was that agencies should award contracts mainly based on past performance, and we've done two of those now," he said.

The procurement, evaluation and award took less than eight months to complete, Wise said. He said he expects GSA to be able to fill each task order from agencies within two weeks from the time the requirements arrive at GSA.

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