Davis still aims for share-in savings

The Chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, a longtime advocate of procurement reform measures, vowed today to continue pushing for share-in-savings contracting.

The form of contracting allows agencies and contractors to base contractor's pay on the agency's savings through a particular project. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) speaking at a breakfast seminar hosted by the Council for Excellence in Government, said new rules and possible legislation this year could make share-in-savings easier and more appealing to agencies. The E-Government Act of 2002 granted authority for the contracting approach. However, the authority expires next year, and agencies have not made much use of it.

"What we really need is for someone in the government to implement this and have some successes," Davis said. That would convince skeptics and also provide a blueprint for others, he said.

As is often the case with new ideas, resistance to change is slowing the acceptance of share-in-savings, said General Services Administration Administrator Stephen Perry.

"There are a lot of people in government who think this can't possibly work," he said. "It's so different from how we've always done things, [they think] it doesn't stand a chance."

However, especially when federal budgets are constrained as they are now, share-in-savings could be the key to getting many things done that there is little up-front money for, he said. "This kind of creative acquisition practice is especially important in times of constrained budgets," he said. "It enables us to get projects done which otherwise would sit on the shelf."

Davis's staff is working on legislation for this year, including elements of the Services Acquisition Reform Act, that could advance share-in-savings, said John Brosnan, senior procurement counsel for the Government Reform Committee. SARA passed Congress as part of the Defense Authorization bill in late 2003, but Congress took share-in-savings authority and several other provisions out of it first.

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