Cooperative purchasing?not so fast

Proposed rule

State and local governments will be slow to make use of proposed new rules allowing them to use the General Services Administration's schedule 70 contracts to purchase information technology products and services, according to Input Inc., a market research firm in Chantilly, Va.

Many state and local governments have to overcome legal barriers and change their accounting processes before they can take advantage of the GSA schedule contracts, said Marcus Fedeli, Input's assistant manager of state and local market development services.

States have their own procurement processes, and some of them will have to make regulatory or even legislative changes in order to use the schedule. However, Input predicts that they will begin to make the needed changes.

Some states may not be interested, however. "Our law would have to allow that. It does not," said Janice Walsh, procurement supervisor for Illinois.

Illinois buys computers through a master contract that is recompeted every six months, she said. "I think our contract has been the lowest priced in the nation, so I doubt we'd be interested," she said in an earlier interview.

Officials in other states have said they would consider using the schedule, when laws and policies allow it.

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