Denett backs Doan's efforts

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said today that he supports General Services Administration Administrator Lurita Doan’s efforts to revitalize the agency. He also said the cooled business relationship between GSA and the Defense Department is warming again.

Doan has been outspoken about her goal to halt the widespread increase of governmentwide acquisition contracts. Specifically, she has campaigned, in public and directly with officials, to have OFPP stop NASA’s Scientific Engineering and Workforce Procurement GWAC. She believes it, and many other GWACs, duplicates what GSA is commissioned to do.

“We have got to use GSA to the max, and I believe they are going to step up to the plate and do a good job for all of us,” said Denett in a keynote address at the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg.

He added that the acquisition workforce is waning and agencies’ resources are limited, making GSA necessary.

In recent years, GSA’s business has decreased. It has faced differences in how to handle agencies’ funds, such as those of its largest customer, DOD. Nevertheless, Denett said, GSA and DOD corrected the problems that cooled their business relationship.

For many years, GSA was able to hold money for agencies when they had funds earmarked for projects but could not spend them by the end of the fiscal year. But concerns about abuse of this system led to a crackdown by government auditors after fiscal 2005, with millions of agencies’ “parked” dollars being returned to the Treasury Department.

Because DOD is the customer, “the bottom line is they are going to be agreed with,” Denett said.

But Doan has said she believes GSA has the right to hold money beyond the fiscal year in which Congress appropriated it.

Denett said the misuse of contract vehicles caused agencies to change their handling of funds. With the corrections, he said, DOD will send more large procurements to GSA, because it is a viable contract vehicle for the department.

“We don’t want to duplicate things,” Denett said.

After his speech, Denett would not comment on a Treasury telecommunications contract, the Treasury Communications Enterprise contract. Doan and Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, want the department to send the telecom business to GSA’s Networx program, but Treasury has been unwilling.

Overall, Denett said he believes GSA’s business has a positive future, as it works on accuracy and caution.

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