Letters to the editor
Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked: Do you support limiting the Defense Department's ability to buy services through the General Services Administration schedule?
In most cases I do support GSA schedule purchases. However, when the criteria for getting certified for a particular item is cost-prohibitive for small to mid-size companies, only the largest companies with a lot of financial resources can make the list.
An example is the certification process for financial management systems. This is a time-consuming and costly process with no guarantee of return. Only the largest companies can pursue this, which limits the choices the government has. It is seen as a cost-savings move, but in the long run it stifles competition, hurts the process of innovation and increases support costs.
Bruce Woods NOLA Computer Services Inc.
I work in a project management office for a DOD entity. We make recommendations for large purchases of computer hardware, software, maintenance, etc.
There are many times where the quote from the actual company is much lower than through GSA because they add overhead to the final pricing.
Why have this additional layer? Is there no other way to ensure there are no unfair practices than this? As a taxpayer, I find this system to be outdated. There are already government workers being paid to do this work; this just reduces their responsibility. It would be cheaper to just add another person to the GSA payroll than to continually pay a percentage to another organization to be the middleman.
I am sure there are ways to make the projects known to the commercial world and to put out requests for proposals/bids without going through an outside agency. If there is not, then there should be. This just promotes the lazy attitude of "it's always been this way." Meanwhile, tax dollars are being wasted.
Name withheld by request